September 27, 2007

St Ends

The Double Secret Gift Knitting has finally been gifted! I bet most of you can recognize the pattern on sight…


Yup, it’s Branching Out, from Knitty. In Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (oh, how I love you, Silky Wool).

My first Branching Out was my very first lace project. I was appalled to find that this was considered an ‘easy’ lace pattern, because it firmly kicked my ass. Repeatedly. I despaired of ever being a real knitter, if I couldn’t even knit an easy lace pattern.

However, by the time I finished the scarf, I actually reached the point where I could ‘read’ the lace as I was knitting it. The symmetry of the pattern made it fairly easy to predict what I should be doing next. I still screwed up at least once per ten row repeat, but I got much better at quickly finding and fixing my mistakes.

And the end result was very, very pretty, but not terribly practical for New England, since it’s not actually, you know, warm. I realized it was just about perfect for a slightly chilly fall day in, let’s say, California. Hmmm…

And so the Best Friend Scarves idea was born. I could knit Quinn a scarf just like mine, in a different color! It would be like those goofy heart-shaped necklaces popular in junior high (where each necklace has half a heart-shaped charm, one saying ‘BE FRI’ and the other saying ‘ST ENDS’), but with knitting! Awesome!

So I knit it again. And gave it a chance to visit with my scarf before packing it off to California.


The scarves even got to frolic in the last of the summer flowers.


And now whenever I wear my scarf, I’ll think about how very much I adore my best friend. Because, really, you can’t ever be reminded of that often enough.

September 25, 2007

What would ??? do

Someone recently asked me where I see myself in five years, and I actually started laughing. It was not one of my finer moments as far as being a grown-up goes.

While I’m not really a big fan of long-term planning, I am beginning to think that “hope interesting stuff magically happens” isn’t working out so well either.

Quinn suggested awhile ago that she was considering “What Would Cher Do” as a personal mantra when faced with difficult decisions or awkward situations. I suggested “What Would Darth Vader Do” instead (Aside - choosing your decision-making role model is almost endlessly entertaining if you, like me, are easily entertained).

Now seemed as good a time as any to revisit this question. But I couldn’t really decide on exactly the right role model, so I’m just going for W.W.S.W.A.P.D. – What Would Someone with a Plan Do. It gives you the same kind of guidance as the What Would Jesus Do folks get, but it’s for agnostics with poor goal-setting skills.

So far I’ve identified the following things that Someone with a Plan might do:

1. Have a plan, including long-term goals

2. Set specific, actionable short and medium-term goals that will move you towards your long-term goals

Well shit, this is going to be way harder than I thought...

September 21, 2007

This goal thing really works



A real live finished object!


Project Specs

Yarn: Austermann Step, contest booty from the Craft Pirate

Needles: Lantern Moon rosewood DPNs, size 2

Pattern: generic sock with garter stitch heel flap(72 stitch cast on)

Model: TB himself, who informed me that I was required to actually put the socks on him prior to taking pictures, because if he was going to model, he was going to be a diva about it, right as we were taking the Extra Super Manly shot


Notes: This was my first time using Austermann Step, and I really can't say enough good things about it. Smooth, soft on the hands (it does have aloe and jojoba after all) and non-randomly self-striping (making it entirely possible to knit a perfectly matched pair with minimal fiddling). The red bits did appear to have a magical pooling ability that defied all logic, in that it pooled slightly at 72 stitches for the leg, 84+ stitches at the gusset, and all the way through the toe decreases down to 16 stitches.

I'm pretty sure this is impossible and will not happen to you, as the laws of physics would surely prevent it. So I suggest you run out and buy yourself some as soon as possible.

September 19, 2007

We've all been there

Today's post brought to you by my friend Kelley and her baby sweater. In an emailed second sleeve update, she said:

I cast on, started to knit and realized I messed up the cast on and have a weird double stitch going on - yank.

I cast on, looked at the beginning, didn't like how it looked, pulled. Put aside.

Watched me some House, chatted with family and friends.

Picked up sweater, admired how cute it was and how great it'll look when I am done.

Picked up knitting, tried to reason with it and tell it the destiny I have planned for it. Knitting apparently is not fond of baby vomit and somehow I end up knitting 2 rows that look like a retarded elephant tried to knit.

I yank out, reball, throw ball of yarn, decide I HATE knitting and yarn hates me and there is nothing fun about knitting and it is a stupid hobby and this yarn wants to be a ball forever.

Watch TV with arms crossed in pout mode. Tune into Red Sox just in time to see us ROYALLY blow it. Flip out about Red Sox, decide I hate them. Realize I don't have enough anger in my heart to hate two things at the same time.

Pick up knitting, cast on, knit away, admiring how perfect it looks. Boyfriend gets home.

Total knitting - 8 - 10 rows. Total time - about 3.5 hours. End result - I love knitting, it soothes me.

Clearly, she is one of us.

September 16, 2007

And just to keep it interesting

...I did a wee Knitpicks order. And am now the proud owner of these:


They're worth a closer look...


The needles are the new Harmony wood DPNs from Knitpicks. As for the yarn. Uh, well, I know there's a yarn diet and all, but this is dyeable yarn THAT TURNS INTO TWEED. My willpower is only so strong.

Plus, this blogger gave me the Kool-aid dyers equivalent of a king's ransom when she offered up 20 packets of the rare lemon-lime Kool-aid at knitting group a few weeks ago. When I got the loot, she even tucked in an excerpt from the Onion titled "Kool-Aid, Hi-C Make Backroom Deal To Destroy Tang." This is now posted in a place of honor directly over Blogging Central. Funny, funny stuff.

So are you thinking what I'm thinking? How awesome would lime green TWEED SOCKS be, knit up on my pretty new needles?

As for other upcoming knits, there are two intriguing sock patterns in the new Knitty, Back to Basics and Cinderella, both of which offer different sock constructions than I've seen before. Ever since Kristy started knitting socks from Cat Bordhi's new book , I've been interested in doing socks differently.

Of course, "interested" doesn't always translate into "actually knitting something" (witness my Ravelry queue), but next month is Socktoberfest after all.

What better time to try something new, sockwise?

September 15, 2007

Success is such an empty word*

I’ve been inspired by Karen to start a monthly knitting To Do list.

I don’t know why I never did this before, because I love lists. And have been known to write things down that I have already accomplished for the sheer pleasure of crossing them off the list again (shout-out here to the inestimable Quinn for 'fessing up to this behavior first, making me realize yet again, that we were totally destined to be friends).

As if to reinforce the general rightness of this To Do list decision, my entire first class this semester focused on the goal-setting process. In theory, we were talking about goal-setting for user instruction module development, but really, I knew what we were actually saying was that SETTING KNITTING GOALS makes it easier to ACCOMPLISH KNITTING GOALS.

The true import of this decision was made all the more dramatic by the pile-driving they were doing in the adjoining parking lot during the first hour of class. The rhythmic pounding noise and throbbing floor gave the whole discussion a kind of Tell-Tale Heart-like visceral emotional immediacy.

So belatedly, this is my September To Knit list.

1. Second sock for TB

Current status: just past the gusset.


Likelihood of finishing: excellent. Although TB questioned whether I was capable of knitting this sock and watching Battlestar Galactica simultaneously Friday night, and I made the mistake of bragging that it's a stockinette sock and I could therefore actually knit it with my eyes closed.

Within an hour, I had done this:


I believe this is an excellent example of what's called "asking for it" in knitters' terms.

2. Second picot sock

Current status: in a time-out.


Likelihood of finishing. Good, if I can get past the hateful picot edging. I've already screwed this edging up four times. I’m not sure how it can be that 1) the first picot edging went so smoothly and quickly that I really thought it was a viable alternative to knitting ribbing, yet 2) the second picot edging could suck so colossally over and over and over again. Anyway, uh, this is a maybe.

3. Second Monkey

The second sock looks like this right now:


But mmmm…Monkey.

4. Fix sleeve on Wicked

Current status: in the initial flush of first sweater pride, I thought I would deviate from the pattern and knit a seed stitch cuff instead of the faux cable rib the pattern called for. I thought this looked quite nice until I realized that the whole point of ribs is that they pucker your sleeve closed so you don't have a gigantic cold air-sucking wind tunnel around your arms.

Likelihood of finishing: I've ripped it back. Now just need to reknit about ten rows of cuff.

This To Do List thing has the added advantage of providing fair warning that it’s going to be All Stockinette and Second Socks around here for the next few weeks. You've been warned.

* In an effort to integrate more librarian training into my "librarian-in-training" blog, I'm titling posts based on quotes from my class. This one courtesy of my User Instruction professor. I think what she meant was that goals should be specific and actionable. So "being a successful knitter" is not specific enough. Whereas "finishing the goddamned sock without splitting another DPN" is much better.

September 14, 2007

September 8, 2007

Be Fri

I met my best friend Quinn on our first day of college. Clearly I lucked out big-time in the roommate draw, because I was assigned her as a roommate. As one might expect, this was at the beginning of September, so I'm always especially fond of her at this time of the year.

Which works out well, because it's also her birthday today, for another 5 minutes or so, at least. In honor of her birthday and our (gulp) thirteenth friendiversary, I present just some of the many reasons why I love Quinn. In no particular order, and far from comprehensive.

1. She's smart. Like dazzlingly, intimidatingly smart. And yet she harbors a secret love for reality TV, celebrity gossip, soft rock and poop jokes. And there are few things more charming than a smart chick who digs the poop jokes.

2. She's silly and funny and serious and wise. Sometimes in the space of a single sentence.

3. We share many of the same neuroses, but she's about 4000 times better with the "feelings" thing than I am, so usually she figures a bunch of shit out and I get to reap the benefits of her wisdom. This has worked out awesomely for me.

4. She's so awesome in fact that sometimes, when I feel bad about myself, I remember that someone as awesome as Quinn loves me so I can't really be all that [insert negative adjective of choice here].

5. She understands that bacon is one of the world's perfect foods.

6. She can play the "who's more wankable and why" game like nobody's business. Also, she can play cards with a focus, dedication, and longevity that would break a normal person.

7. She forgave me for that bagel incident in college.

8. Everything seems better and more possible after I've talked it over with her.

9. She always, always calls me on my shit.

10. She makes me laugh. At her stories, at the world, at my own fears and foibles. This is more wonderful than I can even begin to describe.

So happy birthday, pumpkin!

It's been such a pleasure being friends with you for all these years, and I'm thrilled to think of what we'll get up to in the next thirteen years.

September 6, 2007

All that

Over the long weekend, I spent a lovely afternoon lounging and picnicking beside Jamaica Pond with Megan (of the dainty feet). We had a prime spot pond-side. So prime in fact that an elderly couple walking by announced to us that "It looks like you've got all that and a piece of heaven, too."


Beyond the sailboats and ducks and strolling couples, there were dogs. Lots and lots of dogs. Now I don't have a dog, but I really, really want one. So it was kind of like having a dog by proxy, without having to carry their poop around awkwardly in a plastic bag. Now that's my idea of heaven.

Fully getting into the relaxed spirit of the afternoon, Megan even let her hair down. After acknowledging my compliments on its length and loveliness...


...she gave me a stern look over the top of her glasses and said "You just like it because it reminds you of wool." So if you see me knitting something in a variegated golden mystery fiber, just know that I wrestled Megan to the ground and sheared her for fiber.

She's short. I could totally take her.

Though I know now that she was actually hinting none-too-subtly that I should really be knitting. I didn't bring my knitting with me, figuring it would be rude to knit when I was hanging out with a non-knitter. Silly me. As we were packing up to leave, Megan pointed out that she had brought her sketchbook, and had been wondering all afternoon when I was going to start knitting already so she could get some drawing done.

Lesson learned: assume you should be knitting at all times unless you are specifically told otherwise.

As for my actual knitting, I'm on Double Secret Gift Knitting Patrol, so no pictures for a bit.

And in case you have a birthday in, let's say, the next two days, and happen to be in a position to reasonably expect a knitted gift from me, it's possible I'm running a bit late. Apologies in advance for the delay.