Sunday, July 29, 2007

Queso, it are go good with chips.

L&V listeners will be able to appreciate the title. My brain is broken. I've been working on my grant proposal the entire weekend with the exception of sleep and a trip to the grocery store. I'm so close to being done, but I. Can. Not. Write. Anymore. Graduate school makes you stupid. This is a fact.

So, this post will be short on words.

I started Wicked a while ago, but never blogged about it. I like it. Unfortunately, that's about as eloquent as it gets right now. As you can tell from my blog layout and decor, I am a fan of the color green. So it is no surprise that I am knitting this sweater in the same colorway as the sample. The wool is magical in that it doesn't feel terribly warm when I knit with it, or when it lays in my lap. Yet somehow, when I try this on I get superwarm! It may turn out too hot even for me (the girl who wears sweaters in summer).

To prevent colors from pooling I have been working from different balls on every other row. When I go to carry the yarn from a previous row up to work with it I just give the two strands a little wrap bringing the new yarn underneath the tail from the previous row. You can see the tidy little seam it makes here (it bisects the image diagonally). It's virtually invisible on the right side of the work, so I'm pleased with the result. It's certainly made the project more appealing to the perfectionist in me who likes things to be homogeneous. Using varigated yarns are really a thrill for me because they've got so much character. But, there is that part of me that balks at the idea of an uneven distribution of colors. This is subtle enough that my inner scientist & my inner knitter can be at peace.

I made taco salad for dinner. Yum :)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Current Views

As I sit here working on my grant proposal (1/2 inch margins make you look like a slacker, btw) I find something within my field of view that is incredibly comforting. It downright makes me happy when being faced by a wall of words that I have written (aside from the fact that I have already written those words, and will only have to re-write SOME of them). No, it isn't the old-school radiator (The radiator is vestigal - the apartment has central heat, now). It's not even the cozy red down blanket. Need a hint?

What's this?!? Why, it's a finished waving lace sock! It only took me a month to complete. I've been wearing this one sock all day. The stitch definition is still crisp and clean without any signs of fuzz despite sticking this sock into almost every shoe that I own. I should write a love haiku for Fleece Artist.
Fleece Artist for socks
Soft, supple, yet tough delight
My feet do rejoice!
It feels great on hardwood flooring, and even better on carpet. I wonder if I'll actually finish the other sock before the oral exam. For those of you I've not spoken to in the last week my oral exam had to be rescheduled. It turns out one of my committee members was going to be on vacation on the day originally planned. So now, my proposal defense will be in mid-August. This gives me more time to prepare, which is good. But it means I definately will not get to go visit Anousone (the significant other) when I finish. I'm trying to keep my spirits up by thinking about a fall visit. Afterall, if we go to Niagara Falls in autumn I'll get to wear Wicked.
Anousone has always had a thing for raglan tees. He loves ringer shirts and always tells me I should wear them more often. I showed him the images of Wicked and he fell in love with it. I wonder if he realizes it is the same style as his beloved ringers?
Finally, the prance! Admittedly, my prance is not as impressive as Gena's Hedera Prance.

Also, I still have not gone to see the new Harry Potter movie. Does anyone feel like going next weekend? I like to go to late morning matinees because I'm cheap like that. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Prance Like No One is Watching

Those of you who know me are aware that I'm a pretty subdued person. My personality is not exhuberant, and I don't make lots of sudden movements. I honestly believe my boss accepted me into the lab because I appeared to be this serious mature young woman who was going to be totally absorbed in her project. What I will share today may surprise you.

I have a confession. I prefer to finish projects at home because I am a FO prancer. When I finish a project I take my time with the seaming and weaving in ends to savor the act of working on it just a little longer. I really am a process knitter. But when that is complete I set aside any sharp objects (such as tapestry needles) and if the project is large enough I kinda gather it up in my arms and hug it to my chest. Sometimes I just smell the wool for a moment.

But my moment of calm always passes, and then. . . Then, the prancing commences. This starts with a squeal which is usually accompanied by the flapping of hands. I then rush to put on my finished project and prance around the house. Sweaters usually require lots of twirling in front of a mirror, whereas socks usually find me on my back with my feet kicking around up in the air where I can admire them. Socks get tested on carpet, hardwood and tile. Much consideration goes into every step to determine the exact smoosh factor of the yarn.

Purses get stuffed with things and swung about to test the strength of handle joins, then hauled off to the closet to chose what outfit I'm going to wear the next day to match it.

I can only imagine my reaction when I get into lacework. I'll probably prance around the piece while it blocks (making sure not to step on any blocking pins). I anticipate much twirling.

When I finally do take the garment off I will pet it longingly, recalling the way it felt on the needles. Never again will I be looking at the piece in quite the same way. It has either lived up to my expectations or fallen short. I can't go back to that baseline anxious hopeful state that I existed in during the creation process. The calm returns and the prance becomes a secret thing that only my finished objects have seen.

I know I can't be the only one.

Prance on, my fellow knitters.

Friday, July 6, 2007

I've updated my list of friend's blogs. Not that I was suddenly blessed with more friends, I just had some catching up to do. You will notice that Julie's link goes to her blogger profile because she DOES NOT HAVE A BLOG! Julie is the person who introduced me to this fiber addiction and we talked about how much we wanted to start knitting blogs back in 2004-2005. Julie, it is time. I want to see all the wonderful things you're making for Isaac! Blogger makes it possible to have a nice low-maintenence blog, and everything is really intuitive.

Dooo It.

In other news; I got tired of writing the other day and made a wee tiny sock to put on my sock-blocker keychain! I got the keychain at The Loopy Ewe. Ok, so I just checked and Sherri is currently out of the keychains. But start making those annoying little scaps of leftover sock yarn into v. small socks because she usually gets them back in stock pretty quickly!

The yarn is Spritely Goods Sylph in Spring Tulips. That yellow was really hard to photograph, but I finally got it! I was actually doing a little test knit of this yarn. I know working on on full-size socks will make the colors more chaotic, so I'm still pondering pattern usage. I know jaywalkers would look good, but I really want to find another good pattern for varigated yarns. Perhaps broadripples? Maybe I'll have to make it up. Any stitch that is wavey without having a lot of texture would be suitable. It is times like this that I lament not owning a stitch dictionary. They're just so expensive! Does anyone have any recommendations? I don't wanna spend $25+ and be disappointed.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Un-mystery Project

The purple butterfly project was received in the mail today, so I can now share photos here. The recipient is a dear friend who is expecting her first child this November. The project began as an inspiring "You're gonna be a Mommy!" card and some lovely purple cashmerino baby. We did not know the gender yet, so I was determined to knit something for Momma (the wonderful person who taught me to knit). I wanted the stitches to tell a story. I designed an eyelet butterfly to represent the fragile beautiful unborn child. It is encompassed by paired cables representing the relationship between the parents. They're one of those couples where individually they're incredible people, but together they're an unstoppable force. The garter stitch panel in the back is there because it is the mother's favorite stitch pattern.
I am proud to report that the socks fit Julie perfectly and they arrived at a time when her feet were cold. I hope they'll be a comfort throughout the pregnancy and further.

I am preparing the pattern to share here. I'm currently focusing on writing for work so it will probably be about a month before the pattern finds its way here - the charts are done, though! I'm still debating what to name them. The only thing that has come to mind so far is "Flutter."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Holiday Traditions

Today I read Gena's post about the 4th of July holiday and it inspired me to write some of my thoughts on holiday traditions. Sadly, there will be no pictures today because all our old holiday pictures were taken on film and live in a box under my baby sister's bed.

As a child, the holidays meant getting to see the extended family. If you grew up far from your aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins you'll know just how exciting it is to see family. From what I understand, families that all grow up in the same town have thier share of drama and squabbles. But if you all live in different states every time the whole family gets together it's just a huge joyous occasion (accompanied by lots of dirty dishes). So, in a sense the holidays are a time to catch up on the lives of my other family members.

These days I'm a young adult living far from her immediate family, so the only holiday that I spend with everyone is Christmas. So, I'm currently trying to come up with my own holiday traditions. I do have a new Thanksgiving tradition that I share with my aunt and uncle who moved to North Carolina just a few months before I did. But Independence Day kinda fell through the cracks.

My family always spent July 4th at the beach with a few other relatives. The morning was always spent doing "Beachy things" like swimming, digging in sand, or sleeping in and reading novels in a rocking chair. In the afternoon the neighborhood had a parade. It wasn't a very large neighborhood, but there were always plenty of people around to be in the parade with lots left over to watch it from beach-house balconies. I recall in the pre-vacation shopping we would plan the perfect red, white, and blue outfits so we could march in the parade. My youngest sister got really excited about it when she was small. I think it was because we handed her one of those little plastic American flags and everyone gave her lots of attention while she marched (was carried by me or Hollie). I recall taking several hits to the face with that flag, but we still had lots of fun.

There was always a cookout in the evenings. I do recall one year that involved pounds of shrimp that had to be cleaned. That year we spent our morning doing the "beachy" activity of shelling 3 lbs of shrimp. The fireworks were never a big deal to me so I don't have much of a memory about that part. The best part about the holiday was getting to see family and laugh and joke around all day.

I still don't have an Independence Day tradition. Instead, I worked until noon and now I'm back home to continue grant writing. However, it has got me thinking about how I'll celebrate holidays when I have a family of my own. What were my favorite elements when I was a child (probably the endless supply of hotdogs), and which things would my future offspring(?) enjoy?

Perhaps I'll grill hotdogs for dinner. :)