Wednesday, November 28, 2007

DisK: The Wintry Moment

Caption, clockwise from top left, curtis's eye, my new hat from the Maine Jo Sharp wool (self design), red leaves from last weekend, and my silly bag next to RW's fabulous socks for my birthday

Greetings all, esp. those of you who live where it does not get cold

It is cold now in the District of Columbia and what a welcome idea. After a thanksgiving that began with me wondering about shorts but ended with a marvelous blow-in of cold air, I am happy to have a reason to pull out my woolen items. I have a lovely KBrow scarf that I wear on many days. I have my curly scarf that I left in North Carolina and Patty was able to find and may have retrieved. I have a beautiful purple and black scarf that has the evil mohair in it, but is still worn out of respect for its colors. I've donated to work a red scarf for our mascot Ben Franklin. Now that I have a digital camera again, I will show him with his lovely green paper ring crown tomorrow. Though I am still searching for the practically free but somehow comfortable and stylish winter coat, I am very happy to wear wool socks and sweaters and scarves as much as possible. The new hat (see above) has already been admired by strangers on the street.

I'm knitting away on various things that cannot be revealed. Not quite like the one bag to rule them all, but I can't remember who knows and does not know about this site, so I must be discreet.

In a major act of social bravery, I am to go to my first knitting "meet-up" on Monday, December 3. I will report back. It is in Alexandria which appeared to be the only place to find knitters over 20, okay over 30. Hopefully, though there will be lurkers who will not require me to drive my car or leave my 3 mile radius in future months. Those of you without a sense of this geography here will have to recognize that I live in a very popular, party-zone part of DC which is very transit-friendly which means "do not move the car if you hate looking for a parking spot." As a result, I do not take advantage of all things that are out of easy walking distance. Adding to the problem is that I work next door to all the cool museums, so I don't want to go there on the weekend. Yes, this is all a sign of my lack of full social adjustment, but what do you expect from a knitter/archivist/historian?

I will say I am not at all clear about who is getting what for Christmas, hmm. Should I figure it out?


p.s. I'm now watching Shark very happily, but I will try Weeds (thank you all for your suggestions)

Monday, November 26, 2007

one bag to rule them all

It being Thanksgiving weekend, and the time for my annual Lord of the Rings at-home filmfest, I couldn't resist the title. Instead of cheering Aragorn and co. on, I chose to spend a good chunk of the weekend sewing Amy Butler's Nappy Bag.
Details: Nappy Bag Pattern, bought in Portland at some very high-end fabric store. Fabric: Kaffe Fassett, Pinking Flower design. Lined in olive green poly-cotton, and reinforced with some cotton canvas that used to serve as a birdcage cover, back in my bird owning days. I am altogether pleased with this effort; the pattern is clear and easy to follow, and printed on heavy paper that one can use again and again. I LOVE the fabric, the late-summer colors, with it's whole Indian print/vintage soft-around-the-edges look going on. My topstitching was nice and even, and the bag has many, many pockets inside. I can see this getting a lot of use, at work, for travel, the gym, the beach, knit night, etc.

Still leaves me not watching Lord of the Rings, but hey, Christmas holidays are coming...

In other news, I decided to organize all my sewing things in a basket. Actually, everything was in this basket before, but just kinda dumped in, and it was really quite the nightmare to find anything. I used all the little Clinique and Aveda zippy bags I owned to organize thread, bobbins, sewing notions, tools, etc. in the basket. I don't sew that much, but having everything accessible might make it more appealing.

Really, the whole weekend was about getting my life back in some sort of control. I did things like deep clean the bathroom, laundry, take long walks with the dogs, and generally try and gear up for a season I do not care for in the least. At least the waning moon provokes my desire to purge things, so maybe the housecleaning binge will continue.

We also worked out the perfect martini, which consists of 1/2 gin, 1/2 vodka, vermouth and olive juice. Named it the LeahTina, for my two friends who feel strongly about what goes in a martini. Leah describes gin as "a bitch" and Tina, when asked if she had any vodka (for Leah) simply asked "why?" The LeahTina is a perfect drink, junipery and clean like gin, but smoother and maybe a little bit more dangerous, made so by the vodka's evil ways. Oh, and I found out that Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to call cocktail hour "the children's hour."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

DisK: My first "knitting novel" [very short]

In the spare bedroom at Patty's house was Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossom Street [The book came from a perfectly charming woman who is about to finish her PhD in biology on some organism, so she is allow any trash reading she wants.] It was badly edited, it was silly, and it only barely said anything interesting about knitting. Of course, I read it since it was knitting trash reading but I will NEVER pay money for it or any of the successors. It tries to suck you in with "good quotes" from "good knitters" but there is just too much nonsense about men, and finance, and g*d for my taste. Has anyone read a good novel on knitting or is it like the genre of "dog" novels? Okay, I just thought I should add this little warning/confession to you all.

looking forward to one day on and one day off and one day on and two days off at work and no T-giving traveling. Hope all are well.

Monday, November 19, 2007

DisKnit:: Just an Interlude betw. work and Work

Hi all,

I'm back from my work [aka vacation] trip to Triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham). There was not much knitting, though I finished a random hat (note to other when people keep thanking you for funding an event it is harder to knit--this means either I should change jobs or accept that knitting during meetings is rude -- advice?). But there was suitable amount of seeing the people who care about what I do for work and putting together of random people who I know from various walks of life together. And I started to develop fantasies of living down there, not because of its perfection of lifestyle (in contrast to K-Brow and Portland) but because of the nice people I know there. Meanwhile, Curtis lived a mixture of bliss and imprisonment, my dear friend P has a cat Janice who deserves to rule. So when I was out and about, Curtis dog had to be in one room. Curtis learned quickly to doubt any invitation upstairs to "my room" = his prison." But, he could sit outside while we rake, and went on an off-leash walk in Durham with other dogs, and had lots of attention. I meanwhile successfully "worked" out of the office for another 5 days. Yeah. Yes, there are issues at my guv'mint job but I will not blog of them. Instead, I will watch OZ from Netflix and see if that is a new series to watch. I have completed all the available TV series in my desired lists and am seeking new ones. Suggestions (I like House, Numb3rs, the Closer, Gilmore Girls, and CSI. Oh and I adored BBC's Wives and Daughters)???

K-Brow is the knitter again. And I have no digital camera to illustrate anything since the Roz Chast mishap.

Out now, from the nation's capital of laundry, misguided policy, and a two-day return to work.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

writing back

I don't do this often, but I'm such a poor correspondent, I'm gonna try. Don't expect links, though; I'm far too lazy for that!

Disknit said,"my standards say you did a lot if you organized your stash. I considered that a huge accomplishment (of course, I also posted it on ravelry for you all to mock).
I think the new sweater is gorgeous as well though my dad's aran is in dark green, so I can't agree about the neutral color choice because otherwise why will I keep knitting.
Your move to Portland will be highly convenient for me, especially if you have a guest room (my brother is looking at house reportedly though!)".

I still resist Ravelry, even as others around me fall prey to its seductive pull. Still, organizing my stash might be a move in that direction...and if I were on Ravelry, I could peek at peoples' stashes. No. That might lead to more stash acquisition...

Hey, at least this sweater isn't black! Still, aside from that black cardi, the only projects I ever seem to finish are those I made with Noro or Trekking yarn. Completing a solid color project is a daunting task for the ADD knitter!

No move to Portland anytime soon, though it remains very high on our list of Places We Could Live. Second only to Arlington, VA, in my heart, though I think P ranks it higher. I think I could slide seamlessly into an Oregonian life; it has the right blend of inclement weather (to feed my weather obsession), casualness, dog culture, and more craft and yarn options than you could shake a stick at. Not to mention the most excellent beer...

Am I supposed to be looking for a job for you in Hawaii? If I moved to Portland, would you move out there, too? We could drink bourbon and knit in the know you want to!

Acornbud said, Must Have is sure coming along nicely! If I had the right yarn in my stash, I'd knit along:)

You should come over and look at the other color of Patons Classic Merino I have. It's called Peacock. 7 skeins, which is what Patons calls for for the large size, which I'm knitting. We could work out a trade for yarn or cash. I could hand off your winnings on our bet, too! Of course I understand the danger inherent in knitting along with you is that you will finish the project in 2 months and I will take 2 years!

(An explanation here: I owe Acornbud some yarn, already, as I lost a bet to her, as to when our friend Chris' baby would be born. I consider this to be due to Acornbud's superior knowledge of physiology and all things medical, but it's providing me with a golden opportunity to reduce stash without having to actually knit anything! Yay!)

Reya said, I can definitely imagine you in Portland. I lived there long ago (1977-79) and have visited many times since. It's such a cool city in so many ways. The rain really made me nuts, but otherwise it's superfine.
Hope you'll be visiting Powell Books, and will you get out to Hawthorne Ave. SE? Such a great little strip of stores and places to have tea.

I was greatly enamored of Portland, overall, though I wonder about facing the ceaseless, unending greyness and rain, as I am somewhat seasonally affective disordered. I generally like bad weather, though, and was thrilled by Sacramento's weeks of thick tule fog each December. Still, I wonder what years of living in Hawaii's balmy, rainbow-strewn beauty will do to me? I went to Powell's, and showed admirable restraint, buying only 2 books, both on sale! They are: Gathering Moss and Salem Falls. The latter seems to be badly reviewed, but I've never read Picoult, and the story seemed intriguing per the back cover of the book. At any rate, they join the great pile of books on the nightstand.

I didn't get out to Hawthorn Avenue, alas; stayed mostly in the NW/SW part of the city, and fell quite in love with an area called the Alphabet District - named so because of the alphabetized streets, one of which was Hoyt? Also didn't drink tea, but found amazing chocolate drinks at a place called Cacao, near the Pearl District.
BTW, Reya, congratulations on your second opening! How exciting for you!

To everyone whose comments I didn't include, thanks so much for the condolences on the demise of the Marilyn's Not So Shrunken Cardigan, and the compliments on Must Have. Blogland is one of the things that fires my knitting, and it's nice to share the joys and sorrows with others in this little world. Also, to Chelsea, if Michael comes to Hawaii, he should give me a shout! Will you be paying a visit? To Blogless Michelle, and Opal; how delightful to see you both Thursday night, along with all the other Aloha Knitters. I have missed my knitters in my frenzied life, of late.

dazed and confused

I came home this evening to find Cricket standing up on top of my desk, looking extremely busted. Really, I knew there was some good reason I usually keep that desk all cluttered and messy. He looked like it had been no big deal to get up on there, but was a little troubled by the jump off. I wanted to take a pic of him, but the memory card to the camera was in the cardreader and by the time I got it back in the camera and the flash warmed up, he was off and running for his life. Why do I get the feeling he's regularly up on the counters and tables in our absence? I'm impressed by his derring-do, but this counter insurgency isn't something I want to encourage.
Instead I focus this evening on the somewhat better behaved dog, Ella. Who will be going to Zippy's with me for some Hawaiian fast food. Loco moko? Fried chicken? Chili?
While Ella, with her neuroses and incessant barking for attention/work/treats/toothbrushing/balltossing, is annoying, she has never shown the initiative to get up on anything more daunting than the sofa. Ella expects things to be handed to her by a cooperative humanservant, as befits her Poodle royalty pedigree. Cricket, on the other hand, is a self-made dog, pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

I went to knit night at Mocha Java last night; the first time in what seemed like forever. My arm, wrist and shoulder were sore, but I worked on Must Have anyway, 2 sad little slow rows, punctuated by a rather confusing cable crossing. I followed directions exactly, the cable crossing did its thing, looks just like the one in the pattern picture ( well, the reverse, since I knit leftwise) but I don't understand it. It crosses over on the former pattern repeat and under on this one, and while it's supposed to, I don't get how it works...(shaking head, mystified) I guess I'll have to knit a few more repeats to figure out what I'm doing to get it to alternate. I am a little bit confused by the whole cabling process. I follow the directions, I get cables. Last year, I even knitted P the Besotted scarf, doing all the cabling without a needle, but I can't look at a cable pattern and predict what it's going to do. I suspect I will be able to, 3 years from now, when I've finally completed Must Have.

Little to report. I'm trying to upload pix to Blogger but not getting the kind of cooperation I expect from the internets. It's Friday, everywhere, I guess. I think I'm going to curl up with the oh-so-addictive-yet-confusing Must Have, and some Zippy's (must make the Zippy's run) and watch my latest Netflix, "Volver". Do I understand Spanish well enough to knit cables and understand Pedro Almodovar's tale of womanly woe? Vamos a ver...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

surprised to see me again so soon?

More blogging, because it pleases me...
and a detail of Must Have's back, because it, too, pleases me.

Maybe a bit too much... You know, I'm afraid of tempting fate with all this adoration...I know Acornbud has recently paid the price for being too enthusiastic over her latest project. I'm afraid I'll be joining her, crying in the bachi gallery, if I don't settle down, here. Right now, I have an achy shoulder/neck/arm/hand, all on the left side; I can't even do any knitting. Bachi!! I'm hoping it's all up and running by tomorrow eve. Still, the joy of this yarn thrills me to no end. So soft, with nice stitch definition.

Our purple orchid is blooming! I am a terrible plant mother, and upon receiving an orchid from P for Valentine's day, I stuck it outside, once it had finished blooming. I feared I'd killed it from neglect, but it turns out orchids don't mind the abuse. I have some others in various stages of neglect, and intend to re-pot them, in a nicer medium of wood chips.
I think this orchid is a dendrobium. I have a phalenopsis orchid, too, but I think I really HAVE neglected it to the point of no return. We'll see...
It has been a beautiful day here in Nuuanu. No rain, but not hot at all, either. I love our falls and winters here.

My attitude is freakishly improved, following a visit to the mainland. Did I mention I absolutely adored Portland?

must have it

Little to show for my absence of blogging, though I did pull out all the stash, re-organize it, bag it and move it to my sewing room. Unlike DisKnit, I do not have that modest a stash. I love to buy yarn, and have fallen off of every yarn diet I've ever been on. I like color, texture, and smell in yarn, and am a notorious fondler and sniffer of hanks in stores and fiber fests. Of course I'm also notorious for starting projects and not completing them, though I am getting better at frogging things I have no intention of completing. Like poor, unswatched-therefore-too-big-again Marilyn's. Gone. She now exists as 8 balls of beautiful Silkroad DK, waiting for a proper project. I love Wendy's design, and will knit it, in the yarn it deserves (and the one she recommended?) down the road.

To console myself, I started the long-anticipated, much desired, and very much feared Must Have Cardigan, from the Patons Street Smart book. Now I know you're all saying "Oh Kbrow, this is so 2005." but it took me more than a year to screw up the courage to take this on. I bought the recommended yarn and made the requisite gauge swatch over a year ago. You know. Back when I was swatching. So I've dedicated the past weekend (which also included a trip to Portland with P) to cranking out these cables and funny little wrap stitches. I love this pattern, but it's a slow knit. The yarn is Patons Classic Merino, in a nondescript noncolor known as "Dark Natural Mix." I'm of the belief that aran sweaters should be neutral in color, and this wholesome oatmeal color is just like oatmeal, nourishing, somewhat bland, and fills my need for something grey and soothing to work on. I have my problems with this pattern. Like you cast on a number of stitches, then increase some more after you do the ribbing, but before you start the cabling chart. It makes, for an inexperienced knitter like me, a little jog in where the cable starts, so that one leg of the traveling cable isn't coming off a rib. It bothers me a wee bit, but everything else is working so smoothly that I dast not rip and rework. I have a feeling this sweater, its bits and pieces, will be on the needles for a many a long month.

There's lots more to report, but I have to get myself in gear for work. I leave you with a shot of Cricket's long nose.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Organizing of the Yarn (or out of the fog)

So I'm on Ravelry now as DisKnit (let me know if anyone else is there and then I might have "friends." And so this has inspired the organizing of the stash. There are so many other things I should be organizing: my finances, my dirty clothes, my head; but Ravelry says enter your stash and I shall obey. I don't have a sexy stash, because I buy too much cheap weird yarn on sale and then . . . I buy the same color of yarn over and over again. Up in Maine at Halycon I bought green tweed yarn from Jo Sharp for a hat. Sure enough I have beautiful green tweed yarn from Ballybrae (from a failed sweater of years ago). Then many rose colors, etc.

Alas, the digital camera took a fall last night during a fabulous event. The DisKnit met Roz Chast. My college roommate JL and I met at to Politics and Prose and got to laugh as Roz Chast explained herself and her newest book and her process. She was as crazy and neurotic as you'd suspect from her cartoons. If you've never seen them, go see the Cross Country Knitter in the cartoon bank:

Perhaps we should all have a knit-along across the country. It would have to be 3500+ mile long scarf for me to get to KBrow, but some of you would get there faster.

So I have no knitting pictures to post since the camera is waiting for its battery to charge to see if that will help its recovery. Here is the last blurry picture of us with roz chast (she is on the right -- I like us all in glasses!):

The Agatha vest/short sleeve sweater is up to the division for the armholes!! I must return to Jack's Aran so it might be done for christmas for my dad, but after the horrible month of October, selfish knitting has been useful. November already feels much better.

My great aunt's memorial service was good -- her knitting was mentioned regularly (taxidermy did come up once). I think there is something about the creativity and usefulness of knitting that is worth of admiration. My aunt and I knit in our hotel room at night.

Oh, and I don't have to go the office all next week, since we have a monday holiday and then I go to North Carolina for work meetings and get to stay with my earliest friend. Oh and Curtis can come and his lump was benign. Yippee.