Sunday, February 27, 2005

Finally, Some Pictures

Andrew's gone out for dishwasher detergent, so I finally get to sneak some computer time. :)

Pictures of le Clapotis:


I didn't do much in the way of blocking (I never do), but it was only afterwards that I realized that submerging the scarf in water, and then spreading it out to dry might have an adverse effect on the twist. Oops. I try to encourage it back into a more twisty shape whenever I wear it, and I've been mostly succesful. Every now and then, though, the ends untwist and just sort of flap around. At that point I just want to throw them over my shoulders and pretend I have wings. :)

Token Artsy Shot:


Finally, I've gotten a bit more work done on my Sockapalooza socks. I definitely won't be done by Tuesday, but they are coming along nicely. I have another half-repeat (4 rows) for the leg, and then I'll work on the heel during the Oscars tonight (go Don Cheadle!).



I must confess that I'm rapidly losing interest in these socks. It's not that they're boring to knit, I think I'm just hitting a bit of a knitting slump. I really want to work on my Rainbow Jacket (which has now been frogged back to the cuff), but I know if I focus on that project, the socks will never get done by the deadline. This is, of course, compounded by the fact that a pair of socks usually takes me only two weeks, but I'm dragging this pair out because I don't really want to work on them, but the longer I drag out the process, the longer I have to keep them as my primary project. Yeah, I hate that.

Off to drink some tea. Happy Oscar watching!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Snow!

It's snowing here in Charlottesville today. I suspect this will be the last snowfall of the season, so I'm determined to enjoy it as much as possible. If only I weren't stuck in my office all day... maybe I'll make some snow angels on the Lawn during lunch. :)

Andrew and I watched the finale of Project Runway last night. We were both a little disappointed since we felt that Wendy had the most wearable collection (well, except for the "boobie dress"), but the judges dismissed her, it seemed, without any real consideration or substantial criticism. We both got a kick out of Jay's final dress (a feathery fuschia creation). I said it looked like he skinned a Muppet. Andrew said (and I quote) "She [the model] looks like a pinata. You could hang her up, beat her to death, and candy would fall out of her vagina." We weren't too keen on Kara Suan's designs, either. They were beautifully constructed, but too Gucci-esque (as one of the judges said), and reminded us both too much of some kind of a retro 20's flapper movement. I honestly can't picture anyone other than Gwen Stefani wearing any of those outfits (I'm not sure why, but her image kept popping in my head when I saw Kara Suan's outfits).

Anyhoo, no pictures of Clapotis yet, as they're still trapped on my camera. If I'm feeling motivated I'll try to post them tonight. If not, then probably over the weekend.

I've officially started my second Sockapalooza sock. I've only done the ribbing and first repeat, since my elbow was bothering me last night. I'd still like to have it done by March 1 so I can move on to other things (like the other 6 billion pairs of socks I have yarn for).

I also picked up my Rainbow Jacket for the first time in over a month. I knit 4 rows, and then decided I really did need to drop a needle size since my row gauge is just too far off (I'm geting 40 rows to 4", and the pattern calls for 46), and I'm not willing to spend the time adjusting the pattern to my new gauge. So I'm going to frog back to the cuff (only about 2 hours work), and re-start on size 4 needles.

It's a little strange having only 2 WIP's right now. I usually try to keep a steady rotation of three: one pair of socks or other portable project, one bigger project that isn't too difficult for low-concentration days, and one more complex multi-month project. Right now I only have the Sockapalooza sock and the Rainbow Jacket, so maybe I'll start a scarf for CIC or something for my unmotivated knitting days. :)

Off to go play in the snow! (Okay, not really. But I'll dream of it as I sit at my desk.)

Monday, February 21, 2005

Sucked In...

I got sucked in by reality TV yesterday. I've never been addicted to a TV show that fast before.

It all started off innocently enough. Andrew and I went grocery shopping, came home, and watched a bit of TV while he ate lunch. He went upstairs to do work, and I started station hopping. I was really contemplating a movie, but couldn't decide which one, so I was hopping until I made up my mind. And then I got caught. It was like a whirlpool - slower around the edges, until you're so far in there's no hope of escape.

The sad part? It was Project Runway on Bravo that caught my attention. I managed to tune in to the last 10 minutes of an episode. The pretty lady on the runway was telling a group of strangely dressed people that their final designs for the Bannana Republic holiday dress challenge would be worn on the runway, and then judged. I like fashion, even if I'm not fashionable. I like Bannana Republic, even if I don't shop there. So I was curious to see what these people would come up with. Big mistake.

The clothes were so-so. Even with the pieces I liked the most, there were still design elements that would stop me from buying them. That's okay, though, since I don't shop at Bannana Republic (I'm a JCrew woman). The really engaging part wasn't the designs, though, but the designers. They were all characters. There was the gay male primadonna and the straight male primadonna, and the snarky mom-type, and the wannabe punk chick, and the token foreign ladies with charming accents. Oh, and the brooding artist-type, of course. Individually they were all annoying and uninteresting, but together they were fascinating. The show is just like The Apprentice, but they're making clothing instead of renovating motels and running a Burger King.

Anyway, the show ended, and whaddya know - there was another one on immediately afterwards. Turns out the series finale is Wednesday, so they were doing a marthon of the previous 11 shows. Oh God.

I watched two more episodes before Andrew came downstairs. He was hooked too, though not as badly as I was. The really pathetic thing was that I told him that each show was 30 minutes - after all I had just watched 2, and I surely hadn't spent two hours watching TV... had I? I had. An hour later Andrew tore himself away to do more work... and I kept watching. At 5:00 I had to force myself to turn it off so I could go do laundry. I swear, I started to suffer from withdrawl almost instantly.

Fortunately, there was a basketball game on that Andrew wanted to watch, and then he suggested we put Aladdin on (one of his Valentine's Day gifts), so I was forced into going cold turkey. Secretly, I kept hoping he'd go do more work after the movie so I could watch another episode. He didn't, which was probably for the best. :(

After the movie we watched more basketball, and Andrew would ocassionally flip through the channels... he'd pass Bravo, and I catch a glimpse of the show, and I'd have to stop myself from telling him to go back so I could find out what was happening. It was so humiliating.

So yes, I spent I'm-not-sure how many hours watching TV yesterday. So much for my planned walk around the park across the street. I did manage to do laundry, but only with a great exercise of willpower.

This morning when I got to work, one of the first things I did was go to the Project Runway website to read synopses of the other shows I had missed. I'm also hoping to watch the finale on Wednesday, provided there isn't another basketball game on (I'm living with a sports addict. His addiction is worse than mine.).

The only good that came out of this single-day brush with addiction? I finished Clapotis. Somehow, though, the circumstances keep me from feeling proud of myself. Pictures of the lovely lady later. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Tea-licious!

2/21 Edit: I tried to post this message on Saturday, and blogger ate it. I signed on this morning to re-post it, as well as some diatribe-ish things about blogger, and here it is, patiently wating as a drafted post. Who knew?

Yarngirl posted a message on her blog a few days ago about this promotion Adagio Teas was running. In exchange for placing a button from their website on your website or blog, they'll send you a free gift based on your Google Page Rank (I have no idea what that is). I love tea, and I also love free stuff, so I decided to give it a whirl.

I put the button on my page, submitted my info, and (after a few glitches on my part) got my free gift 2 days later. These folks are fast!



How cool is that? All in exchange for putting a button on my page. The teas are (from l-r): Ginseng Green, Citron Green, Green Pekoe Blues, and Cocomint Green. (I signed up for the green tea package). Even better, you get a free tea maker, which is probably the best part. You can boil the water directly in the teapot, then add the leaves, let it steep, and then put it directly on top of your tea mug. The lever at the bottom is depressed by the rim of the mug, and the tea streams out the bottom, with the leaves strained out by the filter inside!

Off to drink some tea. Have a great weekend everyone!

Just Some Pics...

No real knitting news today. I messed around with some patterns from Knitting on the Edge last night, but didn't really knit anything worth mentioning. Andrew took me out for sushi last night, which was really fun. It must've been fraternity prom night or something, because there were multiple groups of under-age undergrads slamming back Sake (of all things) while in their J-Crew finery. Really, what's the point of going to a sushi bar to get trashed? Sure, it's great if you're looking for a nice restaurant for a special evening, but if your whole goal is just to see how much Sake you can drink before getting carded, wouldn't you just be better off with Bud Light? Especially considering that sushi (and Sake) are not cheap. Andrew and I spent $50 for the two of us, which included only a $5 half-bottle of Sake. A four-top of undergrads near us went through at least 3 or 4 ten-dollar bottles of Sake. What a waste.

Anyway, enough about the annoying undergrads. On to the pictures!


This is the needleholder Andrew gave me for Valentine's Day. It's been a great help in neatening up my knitting table, which could use all the help it can get. :)

Lots of moving and shaking is going on at UVa these days:

This is Varsity hall. It was built back in the late 1800's, and is now resting solely on some cinderblock pylons (or something like that). Part of the new Master Plan involves moving this building down the hill it's on, and renovating and expanding it for administrative and classroom space. I guess supporting beams are inserted throughout the building, and then it's lifted off its foundation, which is then demolished. A new foundation for the the building is constructed at its new home, and then the building is veerrryy sloowwwly moved to the new location, all the while being monitered by a computer connected to the stabilizing beams to check for structural instability and possible problems. Basically, it's like watching grass grow.

Speaking of grass, Spring seems to be well on its way here. This is the cute plant in my office, which was a gift from one of my co-workers:

The buds just started blooming about a week ago. It looks like I'll have one more set of buds in a few weeks on a different part of the plant.

Finally, the flowers in the Garden's are finally starting to bloom. I took some shots of these purple pretties on Wednesday:


Of course, I'm still holding out for more snow.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Yay!

Happy news in the sock world: I finished my first Sockapalooza sock last night, and I have a decent picture to show:

(Click for another shot that better shows the color, but is a bit fuzzier.)

I've really enjoyed knitting these socks. The yarn and the pattern seem to be working together really well, and I can only hope my pal likes them as much as I do. Fortunately, her foot is a bit longer than mine, so there's no chance of me keeping them for myself. :)

I have lots of other fun news and pics to share, but they'll have to wait until I get home from work tonight (or tomorrow morning if I'm feeling especially lazy this evening). Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

No Pictures Today

No pictures today. That may be a good thing right now, though. :)

I actually had wanted to bring my camera to work today - since the weather's been so warm, the flowers are starting to bloom in several of the Gardens, and I wanted to get a few shots of the crocuses and snowdrops before they get frozen by the snowstorm that I'm still convinced we're going to get. :)

But... I forgot my camera, so no pictures on the blog, no pictures on the camera, just... no pictures.

Clapotis is still on hold, as I rev myself up for more of Section 3. Maybe this weekend. Andrew's mom and Aunt Julie are coming to visit on Saturday, so knitting time will be at a minimum while we do touristy things with them, but I've still got Friday and Saturday nights, and all day Sunday. (In the meantime, it's rapidly becoming too warm for me to wear a wool scarf. I must have more snow!)

Spent a good deal of time last night working on my Sockapalooza socks. I now have 6 inches of the foot done, with about 2 more and a toe to go. My pal's feet are slightly longer than mine (10" to my 9 1/2"), but the same otherwise, so I haven't had to do any tricky math or pattern adjustments. I should have this sock done in two more evenings, barring knitting disasters.

The last part of my Valentine's Day gift arrived yesterday. I had told Andrew about a needle holder from Patternworks a while ago as a gift idea, and it came yesterday. Yay! The last few projects I've done have necessitated me buying more straight needles in different sizes, and they were quickly becoming a nuisance to store. I put all my needles in the case last night, and it's exactly what I needed. Thanks sweetie!

Pictures (good ones, I hope) soon. :)

Monday, February 14, 2005

Yikes!

After so many days without a substantive post, and no pictures, you'd think I'd come back with a real zinger.

Uh, no, I guess not. Here is the most craptastic picture of my Sockapalooza sock. It's poorness is embarassing, but I figure better to show lousy progress than no progress at all.


Despite the picture, I can assure you the sock is turning out quite nicely; I finished the gusset decreases last night, and hope to be done with this first sock by the end of the week.

I spent quite a bit of time working on my Clapotis, as well. This picture is a good deal better:


This is where she is at the end of the 13th repeat of section 3. I'm not too happy with the length (~46 inches right now), so I'm going to add another 3-6 repeats of section 3 before moving on to the decrease rows. I estimate that the decrease rows will add about 8 inches of length, so right now I'm aiming to have a scarf of about 60 - 66 inches. The length it is right now is just too short for me to get any real wear out of it. Of course, I must admit that I'm getting a bit sick of section 3, so I'm none to happy to have to go back and do a few more, but them's the breaks. Fortunately, with the Sockapalooza deadline approaching, it's a good motivator for me to put down Clapotis for a few days, and just focus on socks.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I'm Hermione!

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

A Case of the Blah's

I've been feeling a bit cruddy lately - off-kilter enough to notice, but not enough to really justify staying home from work - so knitting has been a bit slow the last few days.

I knitted the heel flap for the Sockapalooza sock, and started turning the heel, but I wasn't too happy with how it was coming out. So... I ripped, and I'll try a slightly different decrease for a smoother bottom. We'll see.

I worked on my Clapotis last night while watching (still more) documentaries from Return of the King. While learning about digital effects and musical scoring, I knitted two more repeats of Section 3, and dropped 2 more stitches. I've now dropped 6 stitches, which I guess means I'm 1/3rd done with the scarf. I'm loving the way this is turning out and can't wait to wear it. However, I must still temper my desire for Clapotis with my need to finish my Sockapalooza socks on time. I think I'm still in good shape, though.

Not much else going on. The weather here has been insanely warm the last few days, and I find myself longing for one more good snow storm before Spring really starts. Everyone around me seems to think I'm a bit nuts, but I really feel like I got cheated this winter. Oh well. There's still a few weeks left in February to hope for. :)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Things I Didn't Know About Myself




You're The Poisonwood Bible!

by Barbara Kingsolver

Deeply rooted in a religious background, you have since become both isolated and schizophrenic. You were naively sure that your actions would help people, but of course they were resistant to your message and ultimately disaster ensued. Since you can see so many sides of the same issue, you are both wise beyond your years and tied to worthless perspectives. If you were a type of waffle, it would be Belgian.


Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.



[The Sockapalooza sock now has half a heel flap, and I've dropped 2 more sitches on Clapotis. Sock pictures soon.]

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Sockapalooza (and a bit o' the Clap...)

First, here's a quick update shot of my Clapotis (which, yes, looks exactly like every other Clapotis you can currently find on the internet. That won't stop me from posting new photos, though.).

I've dropped my second stitch, and so far it's been smooth sailing. I'm nearly at the end of my first ball of yarn, so I'm estimating I'll use between 4 and 5 for the whole project. No problem, as I have 7 more in my stash. (So I guess I could make a giant sized Clapper if I wanted...)

On to my socks!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was having some angst about yarn choice and pattern. I got to working on the socks, and had made a good bit of progress by Friday night. See?

(Click for a fuzzy shot that better reflects the actual yarn color.)

This sock is, sadly, no more. I frogged again, for several reasons. First, I made the same mistake (an extra YO) twice on the same side of the sock. Once I could've successfully hidden (which I did), but a second time 6 rows later was just too much. On top of that, I really didn't like the way the pattern was looking with the variegated yarn. I felt the yarn was somewhere between not variegated enough and too variegated to work with the Dimple pattern. So I frogged, and decided to try again with a solid color:

This is a nice heathered purple/redish Regia I bought off Ebay several years ago. (The pic is actually pretty accurate; just imagine a bit more saturation.) So I re-started (that would actually be re-re-re-started, I guess) these socks earlier today. I've got the ribbing and a bit of the first repeat done. I'd like to have the leg done by tomorrow night, which I don't think is completely unreasonable, given that the Superbowl is on tomorrow night, so I'll be busy entertaining myself between commercials. (That was a really long run-on sentence. Sorry.)

So that's my knitting news for the day. The Rainbow Jacket is definitely on the back burner at the moment, but I'm still hoping to have it done in time to wear for Spring (which is rapidly approaching here in Virginia).

Have a good weekend, everyone. Go Patriots!


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Clapotis-lightful

I dropped the first stitch on my Clapotis last night. It was quite exciting, and I'm definitely looking forward to dropping a few more.


Click to see a better shot of my first dropped stitch.

As it stands, I still have 12 repeats of section 3 left, so it'll be a little bit longer before this one is off the needles. I am, however, eagerly looking forward to it.

I also started my Sockapalooza socks last night. And frogged them. And started them, and frogged them. I'm giving myself a headache. I think I'm stressing out too much over these socks. The big problem was that I was going to do a cuffed version of the Ocean Socks, since my pal prefers ankle-length socks. The baby cable rib was my undoing. I am willing to state here that baby cable rib on size 0 needles is the invention of the devil. After several frustrated attempts, I gave up, and tried to do regular 1x1 cables. Just as devilish. So I frogged, and gave up for the night.

This morning, I decided to try the Dimple Socks (available here), and rummaged in my stash for different yarn. But now I'm having doubts again. Dammit, I knew there was a reason I seldom knit for other people!

The good thing is is that I've knit the Dimple pattern several times now, so I may just suck it up and go ahead with it. The important thing for me to remember is that even if I'm not thrilled with the combination of yarn/pattern, as long as the socks are well constructed and wearable, I shouldn't be afraid of sending them off to a complete stranger. Right? Then again, if I wouldn't wear them (and I'll wear just about any kind of sock), am I really to expect that someone else will? Grrr. I may just rummage through my stash tonight until I find a yarn to fit the pattern.

Details on my success/failure on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Clapotis-ing Along

Just a quick update today. Work continues on my Clapotis. I've been wanting to knit one for a while, and was finally galvanized by the chilly temperatures in my office. Of course, now that I'm at a point where I have the knitting time to make the Clapotis, it's not longer frigid in my office. However, that won't stop me from knitting myself another scarf. I have two repeats in the 2nd section left, so I'm hoping I'll get to drop my first stitch tonight. Of course, I also said I was going to start my Sockapalooza socks today, so I may have to make a knitting compromise with myself.

I'm knitting the Clapotis with some wool from Wool in the Woods, in the "Tahitan Sunset" colorway. I bought it off Ebay several years ago, and never did anything with it. The yarn is just the right weight (dk, maybe a bit heavier) for the scarf, and I easily get gauge on size 7 needles. I was a little concerned about the yarn being too scratchy for my neck, but I washed my test swatch and it seems fine.

I wasn't too thrilled with this yarn when I first got it, since the colors were a good bit darker than what was shown on the auction site - I was expecting a muted yellow/purple/red mix, and what I have is more of a dark gold/rust/dark lavendar mix, which just didn't thrill me (which is why it sat in my stash for so many years). I decided to take a chance on it for this project, though, since I'm on the yarn diet, and didn't have anything else really suitable. I was pleasantly surprised. Knitted up, the colors work beautifully together, and I think this will turn into a great Fall scarf.