Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Starting Lineup

Someone forgot to tell work that I have a quixotic mission to start tomorrow-- I'm in the middle of a three night stretch-- so I must be brief.

December's hat lineup!
  1. Felicity in Berroco Cuzco, a squishy alpaca/wool blend.
  2. We Call Them Pirates. This is a repeat of my first ever stranded colorwork project, done way back in 2006 for my (now) brother-in-law. He wore the bejesus out of it until you could no longer tell what the original colors were. Then his girlfriend started fighting him for it. Then it was lost. I'm using Knitpicks Telemark for version 2.0.
  3. A stocking hat in two colors of self-striping yarn (Lion Brand Amazing). I will probably do a modified version of this pattern. I really really hope my seven-year-old nephew finds it as cool as I am sure I will-- I really can't wait to start this one!
  4. Fake-isle tam-- if you count swatching, this is technically a WIP. I have been planning it since February to use up the remnants of my first-ever adult sweater.*
  5. A magical journey into double knitting, with several patterns to guide me. I'm hoping the result will allow me to pry away two very unsightly hats from my husband-- he insists on wearing one on top of the other, so only a double-thick hat has a chance here.
I'm so excited, I think I may pee myself.

* There's a lot about this sweater at my old blog-- this is my favorite post, possibly ever (if only for the pictures). Warning: there are expletives.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Block(ing) Party!

What's going on in here...

Nothing much, just a SEVEN FOOT LONG LACE SCARF stretched out on the bed. It took me about an hour to pin this out-- thank God for blocking wires-- but I must say it looks divine.

According to Ravelry, I started this June 26, 2009. That seems like several lifetimes ago.

The mittens are finished, too, though not nearly as photogenic:

Other than a few buttons to sew, my knitting basket has no more UFOs! Once these are dry-- the mittens are going to take about three years-- I'll provide more evidence. Now for some buttons...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

(Not Entirely) Lazy Sunday

Today is feeling like another one of those nearly-perfect days. I signed up for my January-March work schedule this morning and I only have to work TWO weekends!! Then Eric and I went on another outdoor adventure, though I forgot to bring my camera. Now he's baking bread (heavenly smell) and I'm dragging my heels because I have a lot to post on for the upcoming week:
  • FO's from November-- I'm throwing myself a blocking party tomorrow.
  • December's hat line-up-- I can't WAIT to get started!
  • My recent adventures on the internets.
  • The lovely and talented Sarah included me in her blog meme!
I'm not feeling much like addressing the first three, so here goes #4:

1. which would you rather have: the ability to fly, or the power of invisibility? Those are some limited superpower options, but I will go with the ability to fly. I do enjoy eavesdropping and people watching, but I already have pretty good powers of invisibility...

2. what was your favorite dish at thanksgiving this year? Sicilian broccoli-- I made it for my coworkers from my mom's recipe, and I just enjoyed the leftovers in an omelette for lunch. Yum.

3. what is your favorite movie of all time? This is too difficult. Rear Window. Maybe. What are your TEN favorite movies of all time?

4. if you could have an all-expenses paid trip anywhere, where would you go? (no fair saying 'a trip around the world!') Iceland, Scotland, Japan, New Zealand. Not necessarily in that order.

5. describe your favorite pair of shoes ever Perhaps the last time I found unmitigated enjoyment in footwear was age five-- pink jelly shoes-- but I do love my very refined, knee-high, stacked-heel black leather riding boots when my feet permit me to wear them.

6. no internet or no TV: which would you pick? Too easy-- I already live without TV. Mostly out of thrift, mind you. Internet-- from my cold, dead hands.

7. what is your favorite season? (for bonus points (coconuts? bananas? whatever is available on our island), rank all 4 in order!) Fall, Summer, Winter, Spring. I prefer bananas.

Golly, that was fun. I can't think of much else to say, but I did take this yesterday:

That's my neighbor's house, seen from the guest bedroom window. The color combination haunts me... the beginnings of an original hat design, perhaps?

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Work generously gave me the night off, so I have a lot to be thankful for today-- it feels like Christmas, in fact. Perhaps it's all the loot on my kitchen table:

I bought this as a gift last Christmas and have been coveting it ever since. Thanks to an alignment in the Borders Rewards cosmos, I got it for $5.

This will soon be a hat for my nephew.

I have no idea what this will become... though thanks to another item in the package-- The Knitter's Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements-- I found that I may need to order more.

Finally, I would like to thank the knitter responsible for this. It's people like you that make this country great.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nearing the end

And by that I mean both the Tapestry Mittens and my month of penitential project-completing. Getting back in the habit of knitting (and writing) has done me a world of good. I feel like I have a sense of purpose during my free time that was definitely lacking before.


I'm starting to feel a bit... lonely. I enjoy writing this for its own sake-- I really do-- but I would be, well, thrilled to have readers. And yet... I am EXTREMELY reluctant to ask anyone over to visit. There are a number of reasons for this, none of them particularly good:
  1. The Venn diagram of knitters I know and blog readers I know has very little overlap. That means I have to talk to strangers. Despite being a thirty-year-old functioning adult with more than a handful of friends and accomplishments, I am still afraid of talking to strangers.
  2. The few people I strong-armed into reading this so far are either very, very dear friends or married to me. I'm not sure I'm charming, insightful, or talented enough for a broader audience.
  3. The internet sort of scares me. Additionally, I worry that life is becoming too virtual. I realize that people can interact online in a very sincere, normal way, but I guess I'm still not comfortable with that. Yet I have a blog.
  4. Self-promotion does not come easily to me (see #1 & #2) and therefore seems an awful lot like work. I have no idea how to be my own agent/publicist, nor am I sure I want to learn.
  5. If I manage to convince people to read this, it adds additional pressure to keep writing. Like I said, these are not good reasons.
So there you have my pitiful bundle of insecurities. I still haven't decided whether my irrational desire for an audience outweighs any of these irrational fears. While I ponder, I'm going to enjoy some stockinette-in-the-round.

So Zen, so soothing

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday? Friday? Which is it?

Working weekends leads to an interesting phenomenon: Monday as the end of your week. I just finished a Fri-Sat-Sun rotation, so bring on the wine and self-indulgence! In keeping with the carnival atmosphere here in my office, I'm going to try out a new feature that I'd like to call Oh no you didn't.

Let me explain. I am a practical gal. I enjoy the process of knitting very very much, but I realize that most people only have one head, one neck, and one torso, and some people are lucky enough to have two hands and two feet. Once your own parts and your loved ones' parts are attractively covered, what do you do? Even here in New England, one or two hats is about all a person needs.* Not knitting is not an option, so what do you do? Make more friends? Have more babies? Grow another head?

For some people, the answer is to knit heirlooms-- impressive things like huge, spider-web-like lace shawls and fair isle sweaters done in three dozen colors of fingering-weight Shetland. The kind of things you keep wrapped in tissue paper and pass on to your great-grandchildren.

For others... well, let's just roll out the pictures.

Tiny alligator? No you didn't.

I applaud the use of Fun Fur, but I'm sorry, hedgehog, you didn't.

What the... alright, you need to stop. I mean it. Put down the yarn and just... stop. P.S. Babies do not need you to knit them things that wrap around their necks. Just sayin'.

Are you freaking kidding me?

No. Uh-uh. You did NOT make a lobster sweater. Get out. Now.

*Exception: when you need something to blog about.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Midterm Report

November is more than half over, and what do I have to show for it?

Just these:

Feel free to be unimpressed by my hasty photos. I'm making an effort to get these posts finished on the same day I start them. The knitting looks none-too-impressive at this point, for that matter-- a bit lumpy. Blocking should take care of that.

Ugh, unattractive yarn end. I will deal with you soon.

As they say, looks aren't everything. Just getting to this point makes me feel pretty self-satisfied, considering where I started.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

When you're going through hell, buy yarn

Forgive me, I'm suffering the after-effects of a deliriously crappy shift in which I felt like I was bailing out the Titanic with a teacup. Make that teaspoon. My bank account and I are generally opposed to retail therapy, but this does make so, so many things better, at least temporarily:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Nearly Perfect Day

Sometimes living in Maine feels like penance, but there are distinct advantages. For starters, our state park system is phenomenal. These are from Reid State Park, a mere 45 minutes from home and nearly deserted on a lovely Sunday morning.

This is probably a festering sink of mosquito larvae in the summer, but is quite pleasant this time of year.

A path!

Tiny island!

Close up:

Those are Eric's boots. Now that I have my own camera, I don't mind so much that he stops approximately every ten seconds to take pictures.

He envies my swivel LCD. I was trying to show off here by holding the camera up over my head, but I neglected focus. We both agree that cat tails look like over-cooked corn dogs.

The trail ends at a very lovely beach. I have never figured out how to take interesting pictures at the beach. Clouds, however, are almost unfailingly photogenic.

Signs advertised a marvel known only as the winter toilet. We had to check it out.

Lest we forget, this is a knitting blog, and no nearly perfect day would be complete without yarn. I found this (and many, many other tempting things) at Purl Diva. It was my first trip, but is unlikely to be my last.

What's that, my little Peruvian friend? Did you say you yearn to become... a hat? Soon, my friend, soon.

Anyway, I wouldn't say I believe in karma in the fullest sense (reincarnation, atoning for the sins of past lives, not killing insects, etc.), but once in a while I do experience a sense of deserved reward... or punishment. It took me a very long time to assemble my last post, but I had some (I think) important things to say. Maybe today was an explicit reward from the universe for my efforts-- or maybe I just chose to see it that way.

Friday, November 12, 2010

little d

I have always been prone to what I like to think of as the contemplative mode of life. When I imagine a good day, I usually provide for ample periods of reflection and quiet noodling around, preferably with some yarn or a good book. This is not to say that I neglect practical matters-- optimal repose requires effort in other aspects of life, particularly domestic arrangements. There is very little to compare to the delights of hard-earned and well-deserved laziness. Too much repose, as I have learned, slowly and painfully, over the years, is not a good thing. More recently, I have become aware of a condition that I'm going to call little d. Or d minor, perhaps.

Little d is a combination of fatigue, aimlessness, boredom, and general negativity. It also usually involves, or produces, a fair amount of guilt or self blame. Situations that bring about little d are various, but in my case, working night shift is a fairly reliable precursor, due to the following, predictable, circumstances:
  • It's a lot of effort to stay up all night.
  • It's hard to sleep during the day.
  • Spending 12 (or more, depending on commute) hours away from home leads to (almost) inevitable neglect of domestic affairs, nutrition, and exercise.
This creates a Catch-22: your body requires rest, but external conditions (piles of dirty laundry and dishes, empty fridge, cat puke on the floor) are inhospitable to true repose. More often than not, I attempt to balance the equation by (for example) eating half a bag of tortilla chips and effing around* on the internet for three hours. By the time my husband comes home, I usually have a full-blown case of little d. Poor man, he never knows whether I will quickly snap out of it or spend the rest of the evening sighing and creating discord until I collapse-- often in tears-- on the bed and pass out. Since little d responds readily to a good night's sleep, that is usually as far as it goes.

I decided to call this condition little d because, naturally, there is a Big D. Before I gave it a name, I used to think little d was like a distant relative-- maybe second cousin, twice removed-- to Big D. Just because little d visits now and then, there's no reason to expect Big D to come and stay. Now I think little d grows up to be Big D. I can't explain how it happens. One day you are grimacing at a pile of dirty dishes, then another day you find you don't like yourself much anymore, are actually convinced that no one has ever liked you, and decide to stay in bed for a long time.

This is generally a silly blog, so I won't dwell too much on Big D. Things like blogging, knitting your ass off, and passing for an adult are difficult when Big D is around, and I'm doing at least some of these things without much effort. But I am on guard now. Part of the point of this hat thing is to keep little d in check. Knitting, in fact, is one of my best defenses against little d-- take up yarn, needles, and a pattern, and Lo, child, salvation is at hand! In a few hours, you have physical evidence that you do not suck, and you are prepared to tackle necessary, mundane tasks.

Writing is more complicated, since it's harder and the results are not guaranteed to do you credit-- to yourself or others. This is not to imply that my knitting is unequivocally awesome (though it is), but that writing creates more self-doubt. I can lay in bed, visualizing exactly how I'm going to put the words together, but still get up the next day and spend hours staring at a blank screen... or, let's be honest, wasting time. When it comes to little d, knitting is diplomacy-- writing is getting on a soapbox and yelling "Bring it on!" So it's dangerous, in a way, but for some reason I am still compelled to do it.

So what is the point-- knitting hats or writing about it? Chicken and egg, again. How about a picture?

*Excuse me, farting around. I should really try to clean up my language.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knitting/Blogging Fail

This was going to be another deluxe post with pictures... if not for the following circumstances:

1. I started really cranking on the Tapestry Mittens. This is the most dangerous stage of a project for me because I start thinking things like, "I'm really pretty effing awesome at knitting. My manual dexterity rocks. Screw knitting, I should have been a mother-effing neurosurgeon." While in this case, the thoughts may have been a teensy bit justified-- I mean, come on, two-color stranding with ONE HAND? Shit is sick-- they usually lead to one thing:

2. I screwed up the pattern. "Shit. The little curly tendril things are not lining up anymore. Woe is me, my folly shall be exposed to the world..."

3. "WAIT. Oh, ha HA. THIS will make for a clever little blog post once I take pictures of my foolish mistake and describe the silly, silly thoughts I was thinking while making it. Kick ass!"

4. Thanks to daylight savings time, it is dark at 4PM. "I refuse to use flash! My blog deserves pretty, day-lit pictures! I'll take them tomorrow!" Knitting goes back in its bag...

5. Turns out, my mistake was not quite as drastic as it seemed... in fact, it's pretty minor. I probably could correct in in less than 10 minutes. In fact, it's pretty much impossible to distinguish in any of the pictures I have waited for the light of day to take.

To sum up: Minor knitting mistake + pathological need to blog about it = at least four hours of much needed knitting time wasted + this piece o' crap. Wah-wah-waaaah.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pandora's Ziplock Bag

This is not attractive:

That's the problem with comparing anything to Pandora's Box-- you are then required to open it. Metaphors are dangerous, particularly those involving Greek mythology.

Let's see if I can make some order out of this chaos:

Now you can sort of see what this is supposed to be-- the beginnings of a pair of mittens I promised to someone last Christmas. Note to self: next time you find yourself at an extended-family gathering without a Yankee Trader gift, rather than hastily commit yourself to making a small knitted item of the recipient's choice, SIT IT OUT.

Of course, in the moment I thought, "Black and white patterned mittens? Why, certainly I can make you those. And while I'm at it, why don't I make them out of the thinnest yarn I can find, on the smallest double pointed needles in the world?"

The ancient Greeks had a word for this. I think you know what it is.

Yup, it's hubris. At least my left-handed stranding technique will get a workout. Did I mention that these mittens also have a knitted-in lining? So instead of two mittens, you are making four!

I am currently blistering through these at a spanking pace of six rows per hour. It's going to be a long month. Perhaps if I wasn't taking such frequent Murakami breaks...

Let's see... the protagonist is a fifteen year old runaway trying to avoid killing his father and sleeping with his mother... what the... damn you, Greeks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Unfinished Bizness

This is my knitting basket. Let's see what's inside!

1. Lace Ribbon Scarf. I think I started this a couple of... years ago. It is all but finished, but still clinging to the needles as if to life itself while I figure out which cast off to use.

2. This cute little guy is just waiting for me to sew on one stinkin' button. Meanwhile, his intended owner is doubling in size roughly every two weeks and will soon be kicking down tall buildings in Tokyo.

3. Bibs. Four of 'em. Each with four ends to weave in. I hate ends. I hate these.

4. I'm not ready to open this bag yet. Let's talk about something else.

There it is, an unflinching moral inventory... give or take a few other projects that shall remain nameless. My name is Aimee, and I have issues with finishing things. This hat project will either be my own personal twelve-step program, or one final bender before I hit rock bottom.

I'm giving myself until December 1 to deal with the contents of my knitting basket, with a little help from DCI Tennison, a sassy bitch with limitless ambition (and not a few demons of her own):

I think I can hear those yarn ends screaming for mercy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

An Appointment With Destiny

Starting December 1, 2010, I will do my damnedest to knit one hat every week for a year. Nowadays, one cannot embark on a quixotic mission without blogging about it, so I will. In fact, that may be the point of the quixotic mission in the first place. It's kind of a chicken-and-egg situation. Let's just leave it at that.

I hope to accomplish a couple of things:
1. Knit a lot.
2. Write a lot.

Since no one will believe that I am knitting as much as I say that I am, I will also do my damnedest to provide photographic evidence. I will try to make it pretty.

It's very likely that I will drive myself to the brink of insanity. Perhaps I will pull back in time, perhaps not. Only my faithful readers will know for sure.