February 24, 2007

Wicked pretty

In an impressive act of knittbloggerly subterfuge, My Pretties have been gifted to their intended recipient, my friend Kelley. She's living in a chilly first-floor apartment with hardwood floors. Clearly, a woman in need of happy wool socks.

But she's also a reader of the blog and I wanted the socks to be a surprise, so no mention of the master plan could be made. Next, I had to show her the Pretty-in-Progress to gauge her reaction to the colors. Finally, instead of measuring her feet, I had to sneakily get her to try on shoes so I could guesstimate their size and shape.

I knew she liked the yarn, and I knew her ankles were thin and her feet about the same size as mine, just a tidge smaller and pointier. So I made the socks narrower and about 1/2 an inch shorter than I would have made them for me. This worked out perfectly. And, as you can see, My Pretties nicely compliment her favorite sneakers.

In other knitting, I finished the first Sunshine Yarns Jaywalker. I haven't grafted the toe yet because I want the recipient to try it on first. My dainty-footed friend Megan is officially my favorite person to knit socks for. Her feet are so tiny, it's like knitting for a doll. You barely finish the gussets and you're practically done with the foot.


It seems I might also have bought some yarn to start Wicked. My first sweater! So exciting. Fancy yarn was not in my budget, so trusty Lambs Pride will have to do.


I had a terrible time getting true color in the pictures. In real life, the yarn is a delicious bright green, with a few hairs of darker green swirled throughout.

Now all I need is the pattern...

February 22, 2007

This is how things are going

There’s been a whole lot of distracting life drama recently, so I’ve had to develop a domestic triage system. Laundry immediately went into the “can’t deal with this right now” category. This ever-widening category also includes things like grocery shopping, replacing burnt-out light bulbs that I can’t reach, and (unfortunately) knitting.

Due to a work pants-related crisis, I did finally have to tackle the laundry last night.

You know that Buddhist adage “when you chop wood, chop wood. When you haul water, haul water”? Or something equally simple and profound about being in the present moment while performing even the most mundane of tasks?

Well, my mind was not on laundry or on my surroundings or on the present moment while I was hauling the laundry up from the basement last night. And when I pushed open my apartment door I really wasn’t all that surprised to see that my kitchen lights were off (see triaged items, above).

What did surprise me was that my kitchen cabinets seemed to have turned from white to brown. And my kitchen tile looked weird.

It took me a full fifteen seconds of standing in the doorway to realize HOLY CRAP, THIS IS NOT MY APARTMENT.

Obviously, those Buddhists were on to something.

February 16, 2007

Oh frabjous day!*

Marge passed! And like any sensible woman, she headed out last week to celebrate in Vegas. It's not quite pony rides and glitter, but it's damn close. And well-deserved. I'm so unbelievably proud of her.

Myself, I'm happily housebound today. There's a six-inch coating of filthy ice on every outdoor surface, and I dearly love wearing happy pants and watching other people hacking away at their sidewalks and driveways from the cozy comfort of my apartment. Last I checked, the MIT guys across the street had resorted to boiling water and pickaxes. Seriously.

I would think a bunch of science geniuses could come up with a better plan, possibly involving warping the space-time continuum so their sidewalk always exists in a pre-nor'easter loop, but perhaps I'm giving them too much credit. I, at least, am thoroughly enjoying the perks of apartment living, where no shoveling is ever necessary.

Besides, I've had some serious DVR backlog to work through.

I've thoroughly enjoyed most of the episodes I've watched and learned a number of nifty tricks. Like doing a knit-on, purl-on cast-on in pattern so that your cast-on matches your item's ribbing. Genius! And that Vicki Howell has some fine, fine hair.

But most importantly, watching hours of Knitty Gritty gave me a chance to finish My Pretties. Nice, no?


Plus, I wove in ends, washed and blocked the Experimental Socks. As proof that there is at least one knitting goddess (we call her 'Gauge', and she is a fickle, sneaky bitch) the fuckers roughly doubled in width during their first wearing.


Still cozy and cute, but now they're more like slouchy anklets. Clearly, Gauge requires obeisance in the form of knitting the gauge swatch IN PATTERN AND BLOCKING IT. Not doing either is really asking for it.

Since both pairs are done, I'm down to one sock on the needles and no real works-in-progress. What on earth will I knit next? Fortunately (or unfortunately, if I think about it from a yarn budget perspective), fellow awesome movie-lover Deb was musing on her next project and posted a link to this sweater. How cute would that be in a nice tweedy brown?

I think I may have found my first sweater. Thanks, Deb!

* Post title in honor of Risa, for posting Lewis Carrol's Jaberwocky and for finishing such a lovely sweater. I've never seen Sundara Yarn in real life, but I'm starting to have those naughty feelings for it. I bet you will too - Check out the closeups here.

February 13, 2007

When Marge says jump

My best friend in the whole world, "Marge" (of the endlessly entertaining speculations on the knitting god pantheon), is taking her qualifying exams tomorrow. This arcane and gruesome time-honored tradition requires a master's student to read, absorb and synthesize a staggering amount of material AND THEN speak about it intelligently in front of a panel of professors.

As a reward, those that pass their orals (hee - orals) are given permission to research and write a book. I think they should get pony rides, showers of glitter and several nights of sweaty sexual congress with the actor or rock star of their choice, but academia has other ideas.

Marge is, by far, the smartest person I have ever met, and she has been working her ass off for months studying for this exam. I have every faith that she will be dazzling in her brilliance. But sending some good thoughts her way can't hurt.

So break a leg, pumpkin. Show those professors who's boss. And just remember, when Marge says "the implication that these concerns are somehow unique to life settlements elides a long history of the commodification of death," you say "HOW HIGH!"

In my news, it's so damn cold here that I keep thinking about "To Build a Fire" and reminding myself not to camp under a snowy branch. I've also discovered, to my everlasting shame as a knitter, that I don't own a pair of gloves. When it's 9 degrees out, attractive fingerless mitts in a lovely silk and wool blend just don't cut it. Since I won't be able to knit a pair of gloves before the next time I venture outside, I'm sticking with My Pretty. I've turned the second sock's heel, so balance will soon be restored in the knitting universe.

February 10, 2007

A humble offering


To the knitting gods. May they be less stern and vengeful than Marge anticipates.


I haven't blocked them yet, so disaster may still strike...

February 9, 2007

Blood, chocolate and disappointment

Before I get to the movie, I should explain something about my taste in movies. While I am capable of recognizing cinematic quality, I don’t usually enjoy “good” movies. To me, movies fall into five simple, if eclectic, categories:

- “Good” movies: I feel like I should get kicked out of the elitist liberal wanker club for saying this, but there are a lot of movies I should watch and enjoy, movies like Taxi Driver, documentaries and many indie films. And once I can be convinced to sit down and watch a “good” movie, I might like it, but I will almost never actively seek it out.

- “Awesome” movies: most anything prominently featuring leather-clad chicks kicking undead/demonic ass, and science fiction spectaculars with lots of explosions and (when especially awesome) a scantily clad, well-muscled hero glimmering with sweat and bristling with weaponry. Zombies, werewolves, comic books, video games and other 30-year-old-guy-who-still-lives-in-his-mom’s-basement-type fodder usually shows high awesomeness potential. Coherent plots, nuanced or believable characters, and good cinematography are a bonus, but certainly not a prerequisite for being awesome. Starship Troopers, Gingersnaps and Resident Evil are all fine examples of the “Awesome” genre.

- Movies so bad they’re good: the Evil Dead trilogy, Krull, much of Christopher Walken’s oeuvre. There is a substantial overlap between this and “Awesome.”

- Teen movies: these can be good (Breakfast Club, Say Anything, Saved), bad (almost anything with Julia Stiles), and everything in between. Almost without exception, my love for them is both uncritical and shameful.

- Everything else: from romantic comedies and earnest dramas to Adam Sandler movies and gruesome serial killer flicks. In general, I’d almost rather watch a good movie.

Given my penchant for “Awesome” flicks, I actually expected to enjoy Blood and Chocolate. Werewolves, explosions, an ass-kicking lady, AND menacingly hot men with intricate goatees and unplaceable European accents? Dude!

And the movie did have its moments – Bucharest was beautifully photographed, and many of the rooms had this artfully impoverished faded glamour thing going on that made it look like everyone lived in an Anthropologie catalog.

And there were moments where it almost, almost achieved awesomeness: when the pack gathered to hunt, a fantastic skull and legbone-festooned church interior, and almost any scene with Vivian’s villainous, swaggering, absinthe-swilling cousin. Plus, there was a smoking hot brunette with enviably pert boobs and my dream haircut.

But these flashes of near-awesomeness really just made the rest of it more disappointing. It wasn’t the low budget, as you can make a stellar werewolf movie with almost no budget (see Gingersnaps). And it wasn’t the setting. Or the actors. Or even the silly dialogue.

Normally, I try to evaluate a movie on its own merit, separate from the original source, so I find a few liberties forgivable. The problem was the kind of liberties the movie took. The resemblance to the book ended with the characters' names. The central conflict, the arc of the romance, and the ending (among other things) were all radically different.

And if the central conflict of the novel is deciding between being a demure, gentle human girl that speaks softly and only makes tender Sarah McLachlan love, or being a badass, slutty werewolf, you had better not be fucking around with the central conflict.

Because from that decision point, everything changes. The story is no longer about becoming comfortable with one's power in a world that is supremely uncomfortable with any kind of female power. Instead, the story is about a cringing girl who whispers "please don't kill me" and "I'm afraid of what you think of me."

And that was unforgivable.

February 8, 2007

Half mystery, all yarn

Check out what I signed up for: A "Half Mystery" trip to an as-yet-unknown western Mass. fiber destination, with an afternoon stop at WEBS.

Being carless, having a vanful of fiber addicts pick me up and drive me to a legendary yarn purveyor is just about the coolest thing I can imagine.

I could extoll the virtues of WEBS (or at least repeat the awe-inspiring things I've heard about it) but I'm off to see Blood and Chocolate with my potty-minded friend Megan.

I do love an ass-kicking lady, but I just can't imagine how the movie could possibly compare to the fabulous YA novel of the same name.

We shall see...

February 6, 2007

Potty humor

My dear friend Megan emailed me this horoscope today:

Relationships could get wild late this week as loving Venus joins eccentric and inventive Uranus and puts people in an experimental mood. The romance planet then crosses paths with expansive Jupiter, which can easily lead to excessive behavior. Over-indulgence in life's delights should be fun, but might raise expectations so high that disappointment is likely to follow

Her follow-up message said "Uranus puts people in an experimental mood."

Clearly, I have chosen my friends well.

February 4, 2007

Slippery saddle

I've been a bad blogger. I can blame part of it on my intermittent technical problems, but mostly life has just gotten in the way.

I hope to redeem myself by giving you a whole lotta yarn porn in this post.


I started the spring semester last week. Just one class, Evaluation of Information Services, which seems fairly interesting, in part because of the course content but mostly because of the potentially limitless entertainment offered by my classmate Rebecca. Example - last week when the professor asked a rather muddled question, Rebecca's response was "Could you rephrase the question using none of the words you just used?"

If I turn out half as awesome as Rebecca, I will have done well with my life.

The class meets Monday nights, which necessitated the installation of DVR, so that I can keep up with Heroes. The supreme pleasure of getting DVR was marred only slightly by the cable guy showing up an hour early, while I was naked and on the toilet.

The week before that, I went to my first stitch 'n bitch. For someone with near-crippling anxiety about social situations, this was a huge step. I finally realized that it wasn't exactly a social social situation, because knitting could save me from having to be social at all. All I had to do was show up and knit. I may be spastic and awkward, but dammit, I knew I could show up and knit. I did send a panicky last-minute text message to the boyfriend insisting that the other knitters wouldn't like me and might even point at my sock and laugh. He replied that I was the sexiest knitter he knew (nice, even though I'm the only knitter he knows) and that my socks rock. He's a keeper.

The sock was in fact a hit. The nice knitters admired My Pretty nearly as much as I do. And who wouldn't admire him, really? Mmmm, so pretty...


Here, take a closer look...


I know a bunch of knitbloggers don't need to be convinced of the pleasures of shared knitting time, but DUDE! So. Much. Fun. So many knitters, at all different levels, with different yarn and different projects, and the only thing we have in common is that WE ARE ALL OBSESSED. Plus, I learned stuff, just sitting there. One of the knitters was working on a gorgeous Clapotis (the first time I've seen one in the wild), in an amazing scarlet silk-merino blend. And, in her spare time, she showed us the knitted cast on (life-changing) and how to spit-felt ends together. It was like having my own personal knitting Yoda. Except not wizened or hairy-eared. And, unlike the regular Yoda, I bet I could totally take her in a fight.

Last week I missed SNB in favor of seeing Mortified, the show where real live grown-ups read their adolescent journals/poems/letters/song lyrics/whatever aloud. One of the funniest things I've ever seen, and totally worth missing a knit night for.

But I will be SNBing this week, regardless of how much work I should be doing in that time. My coworker, Awesome Meredith, attends lunchtime yoga, and she says she tries to view it like a doctor's apointment: not something optional, but something you schedule and do because you're better off for having done it. I'm trying to see Stitch 'n Bitching the same way.

And the knitting has been going remarkably well.*

Both My Pretty and the Experimental Sock-in-Progress should have mates in the next week. As Marge (hilariously) mentioned in the comments, "Socks come in pairs so that feet don't get envious and bitter and turn on each other." Hopefully, this will forestall any potential hellish sock war.

Now that I think about it, I'd be doing pretty well if I set my sights on being half as funny as Marge, too.

I'm trying very hard not to be concerned that the second Experimental Sock seems significantly smaller than the first. If I chant "Same yarn, same needles, same number of stitches, same pattern" over and over, will that make everything turn out ok?


My Pretty will be getting a fraternal, rather than identical, twin. I love me some perfectly aligned stripes, but I was feeling whimsical when I cast on and decided to let the socks stripe as they see fit.


And finally, I'm still getting caught up on blogs and comments, but wanted to say thanks to everyone for the nice comments recently. I feel so popular!

* Now that I've thumbed my nose at the knitting goddess with my smugness, who wants to bet that My Pretty doubles in size during blocking, or perhaps that I'll be involved in a complicated knitting-related train accident, wherein no one is injured but my knitting is irreparably damaged? Keep your fingers crossed.