Wednesday, January 25, 2006

also ...

i just want to give a shout-out to amber who has left not one, but two comments over the past week! i love comments! three cheers for amber!

ups and downs

the past week has been exceedingly ... emotional. last friday, i received some incredibly sad news about a friend of mine from high school, the kind of sad, horrifying news that is difficult to process and accept. since hearing this news, i've been thinking a lot about high school. i know many people who hated high school, and have always felt lucky that i am not one of them. there were moments of teenage angst, of course, but i genuinely enjoyed my high school years. a large part of the enjoyment stemmed from the close knit group of friends and teammates of which i was a part. even though i have lost touch over the years with many of those people, my sense of a shared community with them remains very strong.

i feel lucky to have been a part of such a community when i was in high school ... and feel incredibly lucky to have developed an incredibly strong and supportive community of friends out here in san francisco. but sometimes i think that i take this for granted, i assume that my little community will always be there. and maybe it will. but it can't hurt to take a little time out of each day not just to be thankful for the friends and family you have, but also to tell them how much they mean to you.

on the better news front, i received a very exciting call from a friend last night. this friend works for an on-line policy journal of sorts which is looking for someone to write an article on carbon markets. and as of this moment, it's looking like that someone will be me! i know this probably doesn't sound very exciting to all of you BUT given that i desperately need & want journalism experience and that i want to be writing about energy-related topics ... this call was like manna from heaven. i still don't know all the details, but my friend is sending me some stuff in an email and then we'll meet to discuss early next week. yay!

after spending the day reviewing the top (and not so top) news stories of 2005 for this test i'm taking tomorrow, i definitely needed some kick-back-and-chill knitting time. i also need to maximize my maggie time, because she's leaving me as of next week. so, she came over with cheesy movies in hand, and we spent a solid six hours on the couch knitting. the result of which is:

the first four inches or so of the front of the sweater. forward progress is being made. some of you may be asking why i have two balls of the exact same yarn attached to the sweater. after tangling the dangling yarn at least eight times during each row, i was asking myself the same question. the simple answer is that i will be connecting the two sides after about nine inches, and then sewing a nine-inch zipper in at the very end so that i can leave the bottom of the sweater open or closed. it sounds so easy, doesn't it? check back with me on that a week or two from now.

tomorrow night, i'm hopping a plane bound for williamstown, and i couldn't be more excited. i'm getting to see my parents, a bunch of swimmer friends from college, and the one, the only ... superbon! i'm plotting a meeting between superbon and my mom in the hopes of luring my mom in to ranks of the knitting obsessed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

the skinny.

ok, i have begun to narrow down my yarn options for knitting Grace by Debbie Bliss and i have come up with the following yarns and colors to choose from.
the following yarns fit my gauge.
Andean Silk by Knitpicks - a blend of alpaca, silk, and merino (read: heaven)

in either Lettuce

or Slate

or Cinnamon

My second yarn choice is Pastaza by Cascade made of llama and wool (you know i love those llamas).

In Spruce

or Artichoke

I have narrowed it down to five. I won't tell you what I am leaning towards as of now - mostly because I don't really know myself. Any opinions?

Monday, January 23, 2006

wish it was sunday

mondays are the worst. anyone who claims to like mondays is lying through his teeth. mondays ruin the start of a perfectly good week by forcing you to go to work. even worse than a normal monday is a monday on which you have an evening meeting where no one can stick to the agenda so your hour-long meeting runs for two hours and you don't get home from work until 9pm. that kind of monday ... well, to be perfectly frank, that kind of monday just blows.

in case you were wondering, that's the kind of monday i just had.

but in an attempt to be a glass-half-full kind of gal, look at what came in the mail for me today:

my yarn for rogue! it's the fisherman yarns from barlett yarns in medium sheeps gray. i originally wanted to go for the plum heather, but was talked into this color by maggie and ccd. i'm happy with my choice, and actually think that it is the perfect color for this type of sweater. here's a closer look:

i can't decide whether or not i'm nervous for rogue. on the one hand, the pattern is nineteen pages long. yes, that's right - nineteen pages. on the other hand, i've done a lot of the things in the pattern before, just not the cables and the short rows. but it's just knitting, right? i mean, how hard can it be? in case you were wondering, that was a rhetorical question - i don't really want to hear about just how hard it can, in fact, be.

moving on ... as promised, here is the finished back of the sweater:

i haven't blocked it yet, so it's rolling at all the edges, making it look even skinnier than it already is. i think it'll be about 18 inches across when it's blockced, though. is that very narrow? i think i need to start looking for a very tall, very skinny person to be the recipient of this sweater.


just kidding, i'm not done. well, not exactly. i'm certainly not done with any of the various projects i've pledged to finish by february 10th. truth be told, i didn't even do any work on them this weekend.

but i am done with the back of my sweater! yay! i'm worried that it's waywayway too long and waywayway too skinny, but am holding out for the wonders of blocking (i've never actually blocked anything before). i'm wondering whether i should block the parts of the sweater separately before seaming, or just wait and block the whole thing after seaming. various books say various things. any thoughts?

i need to post pictures, but i'm veryveryvery sleepy. seems to be a trend.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

hold up.

wait one second, i was just browsing some random knitting blogs and someone mentioned their "knitpicks" yarn. i had no idea what they were talking about. i googled it and came across this:


there are SO many reasons why this is a great shop. you can search for tons of different yarns - by many different topics (weight, color, content and probably more than i even know).
there has to be a catch.
and then i realize that they have a special section of natural wool in large skeins for dyeing.
there has to be a catch.
then i read there byline: "travelling the world to bring you affordable knitting"
since when is knitting affordable?
there has to be a catch. there yarns seem great, cheap and great.
anyone know of this? i'm so curious and am off to search for a yarn for THE SWEATER (cabled grace, if you were wondering).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

row by row

isn't there a song? something about making gardens grow? anyhoo, i thought it was an appropriate title for a post on sweater progress - which is definitely growing:

i finished the dark green portion, started on light green portion, AND did my armhole shaping:

the directions on the armhole shaping weren't all that clear (i.e., they asked me to bind off stitches at the end of a row), but through application of common sense and a phone call to mags, i perservered. now i just keep knitting for a few more inches (probably closer to five inches, but who's counting), shape the neck, bind off, and then i'm done!! with that back, that is. i still have the front and two sleeves. but i also have a cross-country trip next weekend, so lots of knitting time on the plane.

in other, non-knitting, news, last night was book club. it was the usual racuous affair, with yummy matt-made food, some discussion about the book, and a whole lot more discussion not about the book. this is my favorite picture from the night:

and this is what i did shortly after taking that picture:

i feel asleep. on the couch, in the middle of raging book club. i would blame it on all the late hours i was keeping this past week because of a certain sweater obsession, but this is the third book club in a row where i have fallen asleep. so it must be something else. could it be, is it possibly that ... i'm growing old?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

call me crazy

i've always considered myself a smidge left of normal - and have always thought that it was a good thing. i mean, quirks are what make people interesting, right? well, my friends, i've stepped it up to a whole new level this week. as of monday, i was a knitter who had completed nothing more complicated than a small, garter stitch baby sweater (knit all in one piece so there were no seams).

that was monday. as of today, i am a knitter who is compulsively knitting her first ever sweater AND who has signed up for the yarn harlot's knitting olympics. how did this happen.

now that i'm about 14 inches in on sweater #1, i felt sufficiently experienced to commit to knitting rogue for the knitting olympics. to fully appreciate the depths of my insanity, let's examine a few pictures. from the front:

and from the side:

hmm. yes. well. another brilliant decision by yours truly. have i mentioned that i've never actually completed an adult-size sweater before? oh wait, oh wait, did i also remember to mention that i've never officially done cables before?

i'm screwed. because in addition to being overly ambitious, i happen to be insanely competitive. which means that now that i've committed to this sweater, there is no backing down. there is no quitter in charis. there may be a mildly insane knitter in charis, but there is no quitter. it's just me and you, rogue. let's see who blinks first.

on a slightly less crazy note, i'm actually making good progress on sweater #1. this could be because i sat on my couch last night for over five hours doing nothing but knitting on sweater #1, but that's really a minor detail. anyway, here's proof of my progress:

it's a little rolled up in this picture, but i'm at about 14 inches. i get to switch colors at 15.75 inches. look at me, a regular sweater machine.

a certain someone has pointed out that i may owe another certain someone a certain christmas present from, oh, 2004. hehem. yes, i am a wee bit behind on some of my projects. although i seem to have just taken on more knitting than i know what to do with. despite that, i pledge to finish - by February 10th at 2pm Eastern - all ongoing projects that are intended as presents (this last bit is an extremely important caveat. otherwise, i'd be up against yet another impossible deadline.). at last count, this means i need to finish:

1. a scarf for my brother
2. a hat for matt harris

i'm starting to feel like i have more things on my knitting to-do list than i do on my work to-do list.

in training.

so the training has begun. charis and i have decided to partake in the harlot's olympic knitting event. 16 days to push yourself to create something amazing out of wool. something that is great. something that is a challenge. something warm.
i have decided to take on this:

Grace by Debbie Bliss. I am still in the midst of figuring out how to afford all of the yarn that all those cables are going to take. I think I have decided on Cascade - but not on the color. Suggestions?
The reason this is a big challenge for me is a couple of reasons.
1. SWEATER. I have succesfully finished ONE sweater. Hmm...
2. CABLES. I have never made a cable. The first time I met the yarlot, she taught me how to cable on a sock without a cable needle, but i don't remember. Now every book I read uses a cable needle. Hmmm...
3. CAST-ON. Supposedly there is some special cast-on for this sweater (still don't have the pattern, so don't know the specifics) and it took one knitter/blogger over an HOUR to cast on just the back of the sweater. Hmm...
4.TIME. My first sweater took six months and now I have agreed to knit one in 16 days. Hmm...
5. COLLARS. Hmm...

Ok, so more than a few reasons that this will be a challenge.

In other news I AM SPINNING. I am addicted to spinning on my new Ashford and although my yarn is incredibly uneven - I am proud of it. So proud of it that I brought it out with me on Saturday night to a house party. When conversation lulled, I presented everyone with my yarn. They didn't really get it...and I repeated MY yarn. My fellow knitters were incredibly supportive and excited - and others were just confused.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

helping others.

so there i am sitting in my favorite coffee shop yesterday tap tapping away on my computer when i notice the most interesting thing. a young man knitting. this man was dressed in all black with black spiked hair and blacked fingerless gloves that were strapped together with metal chains. he had pink fingernails. and he was knitting. well, he was trying to knit what looked like a purple pastel yarn into a scarf. he was on his first row. and as we all know - for a beginner - the first row can be hard. so i kept casually glancing over watching him struggle to work the first stitch - putting it on the needle, dropping it, putting it on the wrong one, dropping it again.

his hands started to shake.

i decided, like the generous knitter i am (kind of) to offer some help. i mean, what knitter in their right mind can watch the nervous shaky hands? (i would never admit that my first reaction was to grab said yarn out of the shaky hands and knit a few rows until we were all clear, never admit it) so i looked around and faced him head on. he looked up like a deer in headlights, his eyes twitching back and forth.

"umm, can i give you a hand, there?"
"no, i just, i just have to go"

at that, he gathered all of his black and metal belongings and ran out of the coffee shop.

maybe i was too abrupt in my thinking that he needed help? maybe he was scarred by an aggressive knitter/teacher in the past? maybe he had to go? maybe his hands weren't shaking at all and he was doing just fine and i simply wanted to take over?
oh well. i suppose not every knitter in public wants my help.


so here's my dilemma. yesterday, in an upsurge of knitting ambition, i went and purchased yarn for my first ever sweater. i then went back to maggie's and started knitting on said sweater. i then went back to my house and stayed up until 1:15 in the morning, continuing to knit on said sweater. i think it can be said that i'm in the early throes of an obsession with said sweater.

however, as some observant readers will recall, i still have three skeins left to go on the wedding blanket. some may also recall that i had been talking smack about finishing the blanket in time for my mini-reunion, reason being that the recipient was supposed to be there.

however, i have just learned that the recipient will not be at the reunion. hence, my dilemma: do i forge ahead with the wedding blanket regardless, or do i give in to my sweater obsession?

of course, the simple, obvious answer would be to spend an hour on one, an hour on the other. but that is just waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too rational for me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

no more excuses

friends and fellow knitters. as of 6:45pm pacific this past saturday, january 14th, i no longer have an excuse to ignore my knitting and this blog. that, my friends, is because at 6:45pm this past saturday, i pressed the "submit" button for my very last grad school application (i say this is as if i applied to twenty program. i really only applied to four. but still, give me my moment of exhultation.)!! to say that i am experiencing intense and overwhelming feelings of relief is the understatement of the year.

the reason that i am just now posting this update is because as of 6:46pm this past saturday, january 14th, i started celebrating in a less yarny, more alcholic way. this then led to me spending most of yesterday on maggie's couch, pretending to do a number of things including knitting, watching a subtitled movie, reading knitting books for a new pattern, and thinking about helping maggie pack. while pretending to do all of these things, what i was really doing was counting down until i could take my next excedrin.

but now here i am. i'm back for good this time. no more extended vacations. i promise.

i'm also planning to get a lot more knitting done. as of yesterday, i picked the wedding blanket back up. i have three skeins left to go. my goal is to finish by the last weekend in january. i'm heading to williamstown that weekend for a mini-swimming reunion, and the intended recipient of said wedding blanket is rumored to be planning to attend as well. so if i finish the blanket in time, i can bring it with me, thus avoiding paying for shipping (by using the hand delivery method, i will also avoid many hours of intense anxiety about the u.s. postal service's ability to get the blanket across the country without losing it).

in other knitting news, maggie and i have a new knitting club! we've held two meetings, and have already experienced massive growth in number of members (we also lost a member between the first and second meeting, but it wasn't because of the knitting. it was because she moved to colorado.). my friend ccd, one of the charter members of knitting club, is showing all the signs of being bitten by the knitting bug. she already has several projects going on at once and really, really likes buying yarn.

i know this posting is a little text heavy. i promise with my next post, i'll get back into the picture swing. although, after seeing the amazing things that superbon has been producing recently, i'm a little embarassed for my efforts. sigh.

oh, oh! this was the other thing ... the yarn harlot has just announced the "2006 Knitting Olympics" on her blog! i think i'm going to enter - mags, what do you think? you'll already be up in sonoma, but maybe we have a knitting olympics weekend - i'll come up, and we'll just knit all weekend.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A Few of My FAvorite Things!

It is a rainy day here in New England-tough to get the energy together and go out and exercise so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite projects I've been working on. I managed to complete the two Christmas stockings for the bride & groom-the dates is 2005-their wedding year. It was fun working these stockings-large needles. I also was able to finish two pair of socks-size 1 needles.

Another project that I am very excited about is my Avon Breast Cancer Walk Project. I have committed to walk the two day event & raise $1800-along with MC Crochet. Last month I came across a great felted bag pattern & made a bag for myself-Received great reviews on it ! So I have decided to make up these bags & sell them to raise money for the cause. I'll post a photo soon. I already have 4 of them on needles!
Last week I was the mad knitter trying desperately to finish a baby blanket for a baby shower this week. Here is the finished product.

I have managed to visit several knitting shops in 2005-in Massachusetts, New York & California. There is fabulous yarn out there to satisfy our addition but I must confess I have a faavorite yarn shop. The yarn selection is beyond belief-the ideas are expansive but the best of all is the owner-Susan. She is welcoming and knows her stuff. The yarn shop is Adirondack Yarns in Lake Placid , New York. I manage to make a visit there at least once a month to increase my stash. In early December I stopped by to see what was waiting for me on the shelves and I was greeted by the following sign at the front door- Now this place knows GREAT BLOGS!