Finally Friday...

Friday, September 30, 2005

Knitting this week has been pretty sporadic. I always look forward to my son's martial arts class so I can knit and watch. I even have my own little spot on the floor between the racks of chairs and the weights. The music coming from the weight room behind us is always okay too, which I sort of missed when I started bringing my own headset to block out the sounds of Kurt's teacher. I really, really dislike the man but Kurt learns well from him and really enjoys this type of martial arts. There is a gigantic backstory to all this that I won't get into, let's just suffice it to say I don't like him. Anyway, Wednesday I forgot the headset and was reminded of how fun it is to listen to the radio (mix tapes??) I hear from next door. There were The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and plenty of other fun indie rock mixed with some weird rap song reminiscent of Cypress Hill and a couple really screamy metal songs and Bush. Such a strange combination. I think that's what makes it so great to hear things like Modest Mouse in the midst of it all. They never get real obscure - like the Califone that makes up my banner title - but it's fun.

Knitting though. It's been really great in some spots and absolutely atrocious in others. Lara. I can't stand Lara. I don't know if it's the increase in stitches since I put the sleeves on or the extra weight it adds or that I'm so used to nice non-slippy wooden needles now but Lara makes me want to just cut my wrists off and see if I can live without them. I'm thinking of asking someone at the knitting group if I can borrow a US 3 circular wooden needle to complete her. If I have to continue on with this metal slippery POS I may seriously begin to contemplate just frogging her. But what a waste since I'll probably never use the yarn for something else and who would want it after it's been knit lacey and then frogged and well, it's 100% cotton and it SUCKS. Ahem. Anyway, I hate Lara.

My grandma's socks on the other hand are awesome. I love them so much. Lorna's Laces is so beautiful and nice to work with. I finished the first sock last weekend and am already halfway through the second. So fun. Here are some pics.

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I would have cut the first pic to make it look nicer (I think cutting is one way to become a better "photographer") and kept the cut up second one bigger to show the cable better but as I may have said before, I don't have any good photo software at work. And I don't really take the time to blog at home. It's not like I'm always skipping out on work though. We're alloted a 15 minute break in the morning and afternoon and I TRY to blog during those times. My whole point here though was to tell you I think I did okay with what I had to work with. The cable shot? That was cropped in MS Word. Can't tell me I'm not resourceful.

Also, I finally remembered to take a picture of some of our garden goodies. This is the last haul of the year. We may get a few more tomatoes but, for the most part, they've been eaten by slugs (I didn't know slugs ate tomatoes?!?) and since it's now lightly freezing at night, I think we're pretty much done. But doesn't it all look so pretty and tasty?

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We made carrot casserole last night and it was soooo delicious with the fresh carrots! I can't wait to garden next year.

Well, times up. Great weekends to anyone who reads this!


Monday, September 26, 2005

My project for my Grandma's Christmas present has been found at long last. I've been searching for some sort of shawl for the past month or so and it's been slow going. Nothing I found was quite right. First, my grandma has arthritis really bad so her fingers are all twisted and she fumbles with some things, so I didn't want anything with big giant holes that might catch on things (this took out any drop-stitch projects like Clapotis); second, she's in a wheelchair now unless she's in her recliner so I didn't want anything too long because it would get bunched up behind her back or under her and be difficult to get comfy in (this takes out most triangular shawls); second, it has to cover her arms because she says that's what gets cold (this really takes out the rest of the triangular shawls, they just don't cover enough arm).

She was really no help in deciding either, wouldn't even tell me a color! She just kept saying "No, don't bother making me anything. It's too much work." Pshaw, like anything is too much work for her. But I found it! I was looking for the wrong thing the whole time. I wanted a WRAP, not a shawl (even though this one is called a shawl.) I know, I know, on with it, right? here it is. It's beautiful, it's lacy, but will be cozy and not too hot, plus it could double as a lap blanket! She's going to love it.

As for my other Grandma, I finished the first sock last night. Hope it fits... It fits me but is sort of loose, not a nice snug-fitting sock, so it should fit her slightly wider feet. I don't have a picture today but it's an ankle sock with little tiny cables running up both sides of the ankle part. I can't get over how gorgeous the colors are and how perfect my stitches look with wool. My 45% cotton socks sure didn't look this nice right off the needles (but they do now after a wash so that's good.)

That's all. I'd better get back to work. Lunch is over!

Correlation between shoe size and feet length

Friday, September 23, 2005

Current listening: Modest Mouse - Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks

Never in my life had I thought about this before. It actually surprises me because I know so many useless facts and research every tiny question I have about things but I guess this one just hadn't come up until last week. My sister casually got some info out of my grandma about her foot size (8 in women's) and width (wider than average) so I thought I was all set to go. I figured I wear about a 9.5 so her feet must be... smaller than mine? Duh, Katie. So I looked up a chart and found this but I just couldn't believe that her feet are only .5" smaller than mine! I mean jeez, she's a size 8! I'm a 9.5!

So I did a little research. I had the girls over at the Punk Knitters LJ group measure their feet and give their input. Thankfully, their evidence confirmed that the chart was right. As did my supervisor measuring her feet at the office for me... She now thinks I'm the most random person she knows. First thing in the morning, here's me: "What shoe size do you wear? Oh, could you trace and measure your feet for me?"

And, of course, since I'm so impatient and always cross my fingers and hope things will work out: I had already done the heel of the sock with my general guessing measurements which makes the foot of the sock approximately .75-1" too small. So I spent 10 minutes of my lunch hour frogging the heel. Not so bad, I mean, it's not like I *don't like* working the heel - it's fun! So that's what I'll be doing tonight during Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Post like no one is watching...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Currently listening to: Oneida - The Wedding

This week has already been draining. I swear I had two Mondays in a row and I just want it to be Friday so Kurt and I can eat popcorn and watch Star Wars for our Friday Night Movie Night. Sooo tired.

But I have finally taken some new pictures. Definite progress has been done since the last ones too! Here are my beautiful socks:

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Size US1 needles (homemade)
Sockotta yarn, can't remember the color's name
Wendy's Generic Toe-up pattern
I can't believe how much yarn I have left! Maybe I'll take a picture of that later.

The only problem I had with these socks was, well okay a couple problems. One was the pooling of the colors. In the pic you can see all the white on the bottom of my foot and the foot on the messy coffee table shows how weird stripey it got. I knew I wasn't a fan of varegated yarn in the first place but this just looks funny. The other problem was some minor difficulties with learning short rows. I have a couple little holes on the first one but I'm not too worried since they're pretty non-existant in the second one. Just needed to pick up another extra stitch in between.

Also, I'm not 100% positive I'm doing the short rows right. When I get back to the wrapped stitches I move the actual stitch to the right needle, pick up the wraps with the left and then pop the stitch back to the left and knit (or purl) the whole mess together. Just looks a little more raised and holey than I thought it would, I guess.

With all that said: I ADORE the toe-up pattern. I easily memorized the little formula and can start a pair of socks without even looking at the sheet. As evidenced by this:

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My grandmother's Christmas socks. Every year she buys all the kids and grandkids and great-grandkids socks so I thought it would be awesome to knit her a pair for herself. She totally deserves them. I'm using Lorna's Laces and it has been a dream to work with. I love it.

Last, but not least is the Eyelet Ribbed Top (Sweater??) which I've recently renamed Lara for the yarn she's made out of. I thought this would be a UFO forever but decided to pick it up the other night and get the sleeves on. It's made me appreciate straight wood needles even more. I hate, hate, hate, these Susan Bates circs! They're the slipperiest needles in the world. And this shirt is probably going to be the worst thing I've ever knit... it looks too short, too small, and too not my style. But here it is. All I have left is the yoke.

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Now if only I could get used to posting a few short posts a week instead of one or two gigantic ones...

Secret Pal Post

Monday, September 19, 2005

I haven't heard from my secret pal yet but I bet she's (he's??) out there lurking or maybe on vacation or maybe working hard on trying to decide what she'll (he'll??) do to surprise me. In any case, here's my questionnaire:

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I’m becoming more of a yarn snob, I think. I’ve used Lion Brand Wool-ease for a couple sweaters and more than a couple scarves (to save cost on the sweaters and to avoid extra scratchy scarves) but have started branching out lately. Red Heart has definitely become a “no” for me. Once I knit with natural fibers, most 100% acrylics just feel gross and sticky.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I actually started crocheting when I was very young and it’s what got me into knitting but I haven’t crocheted a thing since I learned to knit. And I don’t spin and don’t really plan to but, you never know. My dad says he’s going to get a couple sheep so I may have to. ;-)

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Perfume gives me awful headaches but I’m pretty easy to please otherwise. If something smells like smoke or has cat hair on it, I can always wash it, right? (Plus, I have cats so I’m used to it getting everywhere and cleaning it off later.)

4. How long have you been knitting?
Coming up on a year in November.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
I have one at Knitpicks but I think that’s the only one. I can always start a new one if you need more ideas!

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Mmm, I used to buy hazelnut coffee candles that smelled delicious. Usually I just go for the milder sweet or fruity smells. Flowery smells trigger migraines, unfortunately. Not too many candles in my house though because of the cats but incense is okay (nag champa is my favorite scent of that.)

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Yes, definitely! Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Truffles, toblerones, swiss chocolate, hostess cupcakes, candy bars… I’d have a hard time living without chocolate.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
I love to work on my house, even though I only rent. I don’t do many other crafts though except for a very little amount of sewing. I draw and use oil pastels, I read a lot, and watch movies instead.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I would assume my computer can play MP3s but I know my stereo doesn’t. It’s as old as the hills. I’m an indie rock geek so music in that genre is pretty safe. I also like alt-country but I get a little pickier there.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
Red and brown are great colors. I also like dark blue and oranges together. I also own a pair of lime green polyester pants so, you know, I’m pretty open to colors. If I had to choose some that I don’t really like I’d have to say anything purple-y or mauve.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
My son Kurt, he’s ten, and I live in a little tiny house with two cats, Fred and George.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)
Hah, who knows! I work in the asset development field right now and really enjoy it for the most part. I see myself someday getting a cushy research job at a university and spending my time reading about weird and interesting subjects. Then again, when I was my son’s age I wanted to be a professional gymnast so these aspirations may change.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Ooh, I made a friend a felted purse out of Paton’s wool and it knit up like a dream. If that’s any indication of how most wools knit up than I really like wool. I’m also really loving the Lorna’s Laces I bought for my grandma’s Christmas socks. But I haven’t really experimented with many yarns so I don’t really have a definite favorite yet.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Well, I like cotton but I HATE knitting with 100% cotton. There’s this Lara yarn from… ugh, I hate it. Oh, and anything even remotely novelty. Not a fan of the novelty yarn at all.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
I’ve been sucked into sock oblivion…

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
So far, socks. But I also really like the process of knitting sweaters and constructing them. It’s very satisfying.

17. What are you knitting right now?
A pair of socks for my grandma for Christmas and the Eyelet Ribbed Sweater (aka, the 100% cotton yarn sweater that just won’t die.)

18. What do you think about ponchos?
No. I can see the attraction for others but not my thing, not my style, not anything I’m interested in knitting or wearing.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Straight definitely.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Bamboo. Metal and plastic are much too slippery for my poor wrists to deal with though plastic is better than metal.

21. Are you a sock knitter?
Yes, I am now!

22. How did you learn to knit?’s tutorial. Then later the Stitch-n-Bitch book because I realized I was doing my stitches backwards.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
Probably 3 months? I’ve just picked it up again though so maybe it will be done soon.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Animated character would have to be someone from Hayao Miyazaki’s films: Chihiro from Spirited Away, Nausicaa from Nausicaa from the Valley of the Wind, or Rei from Neon Genesis Evangelion. Or anyone from Furi Kuri. You did mean animated character in general and not a Disney character or something right? Hah. Animal would be cats and I don’t like birds. Well, I like the way owls and hawks look flying around but I’m not a big fan of birds in general.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Thanksgiving. You get to see and visit all of your relatives without the rush and pressure of gift-giving!

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Dimes, but that’s not on purpose and a whole other story.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None actually. I’ve thought of getting one but have no idea where to start.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?
Can’t think of any. I haven’t really spent too much on books since most only have one or two patterns I would use. $20-$25 for two patterns isn’t too much of a bargain.

29. Any patterns you have been coveting, but haven't bought for one reason or another??
None that I can think of at the moment… Wow, I hope I’m not totally ruining the hint part of this. I just honestly don’t know of any patterns because I’ve been obsessed with finding cute free patterns.

30. What are your foot measurements, and what kind of socks do you like?
My feet are 8 ¾” around the ball of my foot and I’m a size 9–9½. I like any kind of socks really. I’m not a huge fan of variegated sock yarn (though that’s what I used for my first pair), I love stripes and oddball color combinations, and knee socks that I can wear with skirts.

Get Bent

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Or rather I already did. Bent my beautiful newly made wood needles that is. One (both?) of my cats got ahold of one last week while the sock bag was on the coffee table and chewed up the end a little. Luckily not too bad because I can still knit with it, just with the other end, if that makes sense. The problem comes in when, instead of finding a safe place for the sock, I just put my knitting folder over the top of the bag... this results in bent needles. Is there any way to fix this? I tried rubberbanding all the needles together for 24 hours but that didn't seem to do anything. Anyway, I can still knit with them, it's just a little weird.

Conference calls blow. This is the most boring, redundant call EVER. Plus it's really freaking hot in here today. Normally it's freezing so I wore a light merino wool sweater. Ugh. I wish I could strip down to my little tank top but I just don't think spaghetti straps and belly showing would be very business casual.

So knitting. The project is done and I'll be conducting a photo shoot sometime later this week and emailing the whole shebang to Knitty by this time next week. The second sock is almost done! I just started the ribbing. Haven't touched the eyelet ribbed top in weeks and I don't even care. Can we say hurrah for my first official UFO that will be stuffed away in a closet somewhere? Maybe not, but maybe.

Also, I don't think I've talked about the new Knitty yet. Usually there's only one or two things I *think* about knitting from Knitty (and I haven't knit any of them yet actually) and this issue is no exception. Revolution is the only one I'm seriously considering but the cost of the yarn is really holding me back. I'll keep on with my current "to knit" list instead and contemplate it. I do really want to knit Sesame from Magknits though. But I have a problem with choosing the colors.

Boy this is getting long. Last note, I'm going to be redesigning my whole site as soon as I get time to either make up all the HTML or learn CSS and write that up. Doesn't seem too terribly hard. The other night I made a banner that I really like, chose a name I finally like and it's giving me hope that this site can become more of what I wanted when I thought: knitblog.

P.S. My secret pal for SP6 should be visiting soon. Psst... hi!

Back to school, back to socks

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

During my Chicago trip I did get some time to knit, on the plane and otherwise. I even met a lady who told me she was knitting a sock with the same yarn and even in the same color as mine. She was regretting not bringing it along for the conference. I learned that she was doing hers top down on two circulars, which seems interesting but I can't imagine you can try it on as easily as you can with the toe-up. That was the biggest plus about toe-up for me. We also talked about how to know when to stop one sock and start on the other. I thought I could weigh the yarn and when I got close to 50 grams I could bind off and start the next but she thought it had to be done by yards. I'm still uncertain of how the pair will come out but I did try the weighing, leaving myself quite a bit of leeway. The second sock is just a few inches past the toe, and I'm scrambling to finish my secret project in time for the Knitty deadline, so it may be awhile before I find out if it worked. Meanwhile though, here are a couple of terrible pictures of the sock.

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Yes, that's me with my feet up at work again but I'm on my lunch break this time so it's okay! I was hoping to knit on the sock during my lunch break but all this hurry-up to get done knitting on the other project the past few nights has really worn my wrist out. So I decided to knit blog instead... though that's about just as bad on the wrist so I'm about done here too. Time to twiddle my thumbs for 15 minutes...


Friday, September 02, 2005

Yes, I'm back from Chicago. I'm almost done with my first sock and I'm very excited about that but I'm more excited to share this information with you:

I've seen many many posts about people wanting to do more for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina but, so far, the only contributions possible were monetary. Community Action Agencies are stepping up to the plate. This makes me very proud to work where I do. For more information on the Community Action Partnership, visit their website.

There is a list of items in need of donation following the info and addresses of where to send it.

Community Action Partnership National Office Coordinates Operation: Unity Relief

On Thursday, September 1, the national office hosted a conference call with state association leaders in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Also taking part were national board representatives from the affected regions and the national chair. The purpose of the call was to gather contact information from each state so the Community Action network can begin to forward desperately needed contributions and supplies to the area.

In the very spirit of "Helping People and Changing Lives," Community Action has exhibited a tremendous outpouring of caring and generosity, mobilizing CAAs to give to this relief effort. The State Associations and the CAAs face many months of recovery, relocating, and rebuilding. Millions upon millions of lives have been
affected and forever impacted. Community Action Partnership and the network will do whatever possible to assist the CAAs and the states in their efforts.

Please send monetary donations to the following contacts in each state:

Monetary Donations
Community Action Partnership of Alabama
Mr. David Bolware, President
172 South Broadnax Street
Dadeville, Alabama 36853
Phone: (256) 825-4287
Please make checks payable to: Community Action Partnership of Alabama

Donated Goods and Supplies
Attention: Tom Gardner; Bonita Whitlow
Montgomery Community Action Agency
1066 Adams Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104

Monetary Donations

Florida Association for Community Action, Inc.
Ms. Wilma McKay, Executive Director
207 W. Park Ave., 1st Floor
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 224-4774
Please make checks payable to: Florida Association for Community Action

Location for donated goods and supplies for Florida will be coming soon. (I'll edit this in when I receive it.)

Monetary Donations

Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies (MACAA)
Attention: Operation: Unity Relief Fund
P.O. Box 3782
Jackson, MS 39207-3782
Phone: (601) 944-1747
Please make checks payable to: Mississippi Association of Community Action
Agencies (MACAA)

Donated Goods and Supplies
Mississippi Association of Community Action Agencies (MACAA)
Attention: Operation: Unity Relief Fund
Central Parking System - Facility 3
100 Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201

Monetary Donations

LACAP Disaster Relief Fund
2900 Westfork Drive, Suite 200
Baton Rouge, LA 70827
Attention: Jane Killen
Phone: (225) 298-1288

Donated Goods and Supplies
LACAP Disaster Relief Fund
C/O Vernon CAC
1307 South Fifth Street
Leesville, LA 71496

A general listing of items needed may include:
Laundry Detergent
Bath Soap
Air Mattresses
Feminine Products
School Supplies
Baby Powder
Baby Wipes

The Community Action Partnership national office will also be coordinating with the American Red Cross National Headquarters on relied and volunteer efforts on the local level. We will post more information in the coming days.

Community Action Partnership
1100 17th Street NW, Suite 500
Washington DC 20036

Uniting America to End Poverty