Tuesday, January 29, 2008

k-brow: impending radio silence

Since it's so rainy and cold here, I thought I'd go off for a weekend somewhere really rainy and cold...like Portland, OR again! I mean I was tempted by Amsterdam, but it's a long way to fly,

So. Radio silence on my part in the upcoming for a few days, whilst I am off drinking heavily hopped beers and enjoying all manner of joys with my boy, including John Doe in concert at Dante's. No doubt there will be some yarn shopping, and the frantic knitting of a hat even as we speak, because of the upcoming visit to a place that's predicted to have a high of 41 degrees F this weekend. People, I am a tropical flower! Cut me some slack, here! Guess I'm glad I'm not going to Amsterdam, after all, though I'll probably do what I did in Amsterdam, 5 Christmases ago...hang out in cafes and bars and museums and stores and feel cozy and urban and urbane.

Time to wash some warm clothes.

Back next Thursday or so.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

DisKnit: Learning from the Aran

The Neckband

I'm thinking about how really trying to tackle the necessary repairs to the Aran has been a good task for my January. It has required me to focus. I often have worked on it in total silence, no music, no reading while knitting, no watching of the blessed Netflix. Figuring things out by gut feeling rather than by any absolute surety of approach. This type of thinking naturally then led to the need to rip the neckline out three times completely, and to rip other amounts at times. A useful reminder for me who pretends to prefer to do a thing once and get it over with that circling around is actually more how I accomplish most things. And that going backward is as useful as moving forward.

I am surprised that once I really started in on this repair -- once I asked for help here and on Ravelry -- I didn't really want to give up very often. Sometimes I realized it was too hard to do when I was tired or my fingers hurt from those tiny sharp needles (my cuticles need to be layered in moisturizer). I just laughed when I also discovered that over the ten years since I last touched this sweater, small holes had appeared. I think a creature made some, but this is also lovely hand-spun wool and so some of the joins are weak. I probably knit through some of those areas and over time the yarn just broke. I duplicate stitched over those places and it looks just fine. And now I realize that I made the sleeves and body too short for me -- and this sweater is going be for me you can believe. So even though the challenge kept changing, I haven't given up. I plan to crochet some plain edging on the sleeves which I think will go fine. If not, I'll try something else.

All of this learning is good for me. Last year was learning by foolishness mostly. Adventures at times, but rarely very deliberate and many, somewhat sad. I'd like to take this Aran approach a bit more into my life -- experimental, but devoted; mistaken, but forgiven. I'll see.

In the meantime, there is a happier me in the sweater:

The Better Aran

And there are still ends to sew in:
The Ends, Oh My

But there is also Curtis still licking his Christmas Frog who has now lost both eyes and one leg but still makes its odd croaking sound:

DisKnit: C is for Crafty Fair and the alphabet game.

Hey fans, there's a mini-Craft Bastard coming up in DC next weekend February 3rd and woolarina will be there and any yarn with Pink in it is 20% off. So let me know if you "need" me to collect anything for you.

So those of you on Paradise Island you can browse the fair here.

I just have to walk a couple of blocks over to Meridian Hill. Okay, that was a little mean, but . . . KBrow was dissing the street noise in my 'hood and I had to throw one back.

Friday, January 25, 2008

DisKnit: B is for Blessings.

Hi all,

KBrow has been doing the heavy lifting around here, and I'm obliged to try to make up a little bit of blather to amuse you all. I am sitting in an apartment reeking of smoke because in a romantic gesture I lit a fire loglast night, but in a brainless gesture I didn't open the flue. Oh well. I have candles lit and a nice dog who will hopefully eventually take over the fire log smell or I'll just start spraying perfume everywhere and see what smell comes from that blends.

Still, I've got to note some blessings I've received lately. Erin Galvez, a dear friend formerly of Sacramento now of Portland, Oregon sent me this painting last week. It was partly in exchange to my handing over of what she calls "vinyl" before my move from Sacramento. The pictures can only do a little justice, but it is now hanging a place of honor in my bedroom:
Sacramento Valley by Erin Galvez Close up Erin Galvez's Sacramento Valley

And then my dad and stepmother went to Ethiopia recently and just sent me this weaving which is in all my favorite colors (orange for accent) and it going to have a place of honor in what is called the green sofa room (KBrow can testify to its value):
All I want to do is to order yarn in these colors and make a sweater to match.

But, I slogged away over MLK weekend on the blessing of the neckline on the aran. I do not yet have pictures of success, but I have pictures of the first cuts, the second (bad) attempt at a new neckline and the confidence to say I think my new approach may work:
Notice the steek stitching as suggest by Chelsea and many a ravelry member. In fact this first attempt turn out to be too timid and I had to cut more. But first I did a K1P1 ribbing on the collar and it looked bad (I mean I looked bad, but it did too):
P1210022 P1210027
It was too many stitches and it just didn't work. So I ripped out, cut down some more, and have cast back on with fewer stitches and I'm continuing the cable pattern from the sweater. Test have suggested the method is good. But I'm knitting in worsted on a size 3 US needle and it hurts.

Another blessing is my housecleaners brought me wine as a post-holiday gift. Is that a mixture of sweet and scary? Yet another blessing is that I received a performance bonus and managed to refinance my (smoky) house at a very fortuitous time. So now I must pour some more wine, pick up the aran, and go torture my fingers in the relatively smoke-free green sofa room.

notice NO report on the weather or my mood!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

k-brow: A is for Austermann

A is for Austermann...

...with aloe vera and jojoba oil; a yarn that's been languishing in stash for a couple of years, while I decided what to do with it.
I'm planning a sock, very plain and stockinetty, to let those big stripes do their thing, while I learn to use 2 circulars. My socks in the past (3 or 4 pairs complete, 5 or 6 more frogged in frustration) have been challenging mismatches of pattern, yarn, needles and aptitude. This represents a new adventure for me. I'm not about to break the Koigu curse I've been under, but if it all works out, well, just maybe...

Much sunnier day. Much sunnier aspect.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

k-brow: fall from grace

I didn't really make any New Year's Resolutions this year, that I shared, anyway. Certainly a resolution to suffer no dog guilt (a central theme in my 2007, as in Wracked By) is one I'm trying to stick to. I guess Death By Vinyasa is another habit I'm trying to build, and on that one, I'm starting to see results. Oh, I'm not thinner or more flexible, but after 3 weeks of 2x/week yoga, I'm starting to feel a wee shard o' bliss instead of agony in those endless rounds of saluting the sun in that crowded gym studio. Last night, I actually felt myself getting a wee bit stronger! So Death By Vinyasa is self-gratifying, at this point, though the big pile of yoga clothing catalogues that seem to be piling into my mailbox these days is just damn annoying. But more on the annoyance later.

I didn't exactly say it aloud, okay, maybe to Blogless Michelle or Acornbud, but I was trying hard to knit from stash and not buy yarn for the coming year. Yeah, you say, let's see her maintain that one... I can practically hear DisKnit snorting her bourbon on that one. She knows, baby, she knows. I was good for exactly 15 days of 2008. I resistedKai's on-sale hemp at Aloha Knitters one night. The next week, I turned down an opportunity to buy some lovely Wollenmeise from Bockstark, who was selling it at a tempting price. My excuse for that was that I was a pretend sock knitter and a struggling lace knitter at best, and so I got out of that one. But Little Knits sent me an email last week advertising astonishing prices on Cashmerino Aran, that coveted, next-to-skin-soft yarn, the one that I've been fantasizing about for so long. I caved so fast...ordered up 13 skeins of the stuff. Don't ask me how I arrived at my numbers, but it cost about $39 per bag, and yeah, yeah, I know I've gone and added more green yarn to my already-abundant collection of green yarn in my stash, but this was true penny-pincher mentality ("I'll never find it again so cheap!!") and the options were orange and fuschia, and I figured a woman can never have too many green sweaters, right? Behold the gorgeousness that is the Cashmerino Aran:

I hope I don't fetishize it to the point of not being able to knit it up without considerable angst.

This is what the Pali looks like today, up the road from our house. I left for work in it, Kailua enjoyed it through my work day, and I came home in this punishing drizzle. The rainbow is cheering, if a bit faint, up here. Still, it's a nice sight, even if the punishing drizzle meant that the dogs had to do with some very feeble excuse for exercise. I brushed them and we played outside a bit, and then I've retired back into the house to wash some dishes and sort through mail, looking for tax documents

Lastly, Cricket has informed me that in spite of my apparent lack of dog guilt in 2008, he is still able to muster a grin at the faint appearance of sunshine.

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, January 21, 2008

k-brow: mlk weekend

Nothing like a 3-day weekend. Nothing like it for long sleeps, late nights, lots of knitting, and damn little else, unless you count the Saturday afternoon when Acornbud and I took Chinatown by storm. Dim sum, pre-Chinese New Year festivities, and some produce shopping ruled the day. We discovered a guy extracting juice from a big pile of cut up sugarcane stalks (it looks like bamboo) and bought a cup to try. Delicious! Sweet, but not sickeningly so, and grassy tasting; the perfect cooler. Except we were too hot and sleepy to do anything but leave Chinatown at that point and go off to our respective naps in Much Cooler Nuuanu. Really, I think Nuuanu has made me into a big sissy about the heat. I go downhill, and I notice it immediately; it's 10 degrees warmer. Not usually a nicer shade of warm, either, except earlier this year, when I was going downhill in order to see some sunshine; sometimes Nuuanu's rainy season can get a bit much.

Knitting lace proceeds apace. I thought I'd have that Forest Canopy shawl finished by now, but it marches on. The rows get longer, I get slower to finish them,
and the whole thing looks like, in Opal's words, " big pile of ass." She assures me that this is the nature of lace and that blocking will fix everything. I'm a believer, but right now the whole thing is going in slo-mo, and my mind is moving ahead to more instantaneously gratifying knits. The yarn is pretty though, and I'm in the homestretch; I just didn't think it would be such a long stretch...

The shawl:

The yarn:

To get me though meetings, and knitting on the fly, I have arranged another project, the Feel Good scarf, in some rainbow-y Noro Silk Garden that had been marinating in stash since I moved here. This is a simple rib scarf, k2, p2 in front, on back all purls. This scarf needs blocking, too, as knitting Silk Garden can sometimes be like knitting string, and the sides are curling like crazy. A good soak and a date with my pins will open it up and make it behave, and meanwhile, I'm in love with the colors. It's meant for a friend's birthday, but if I lived in a cooler climate, I'd keep it for myself, and wear it whenever I needed a lift.

In other news, my project of yoga class twice weekly continues. I'm calling it Death By Vinyasa, though in truth, it's getting easier each time I go. Because I spend so much time staring at my own feet, I decided a pedicure was in order. This morning has been devoted to the self-pedicure, and the polishing of the nails in a color called "Jiggy" by Creative Nail Designs. Nice yogic color, no? All serene and violety. Om.Hopefully it will inspire me to hold poses longer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

DisKnit: Fearless Help for My Neck(line)

I put up a plea about this on Ravelry under DisKnit, but still I'd love anyone's advice. I made this lovely aran from natural beautiful yarn from Maine over ten years ago. I sewed it up carefully; it basically fits; but the neck is just wrong. It is too high in front. I need to remove stitches from the front, yet stubborn, stupid, irrational Snapdragon says I don't want to take it apart, and I think I can rip out stitches. Is this hubris? I have a little logic problem about the edges in the front as I rip out, what will happen to them. Do I pick them up and they are fine or do I have to deal with the edges as well?

Can you see the problem? I'm not wool-phobic, but this is real wool and it comes up to far in the front:

From 2008 Knitting

I apologize for the somewhat creepy eyes, but I was trying to get across the various angles of the sweater with the mirror and no one else to take pictures.

Knitting Daily has a theme on Fearless Knitting which I appreciate. And I've had this sweater at this stage for 10 years I think. So . . . I could do almost anything and it is better than where the knitted substance is now. But . . . If I do nothing, I could take off the sleeves, make it into a pillow and say okay to it all. A knitted pillow seems . . . fearful. But fearlessness has gotten more than one person in trouble.

In other news, I have made reservations for a vacation in February to the old stompin' grounds of California. Lots of visiting with folks, and a little sojurn at Point Reyes, and one lecture to pay the airfare. But it has nothing to do with family and it is 12 days out of the office.

Friday, January 11, 2008

k-brow: i am a daffodil

To get everyone's mind off whether they are a hippie or not, here's the latest silly quiz thing:

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"You have a sunny disposition and are normally one of the first to show up for the party. You don't need too much attention from the host once you get there as you are more than capable of making yourself seen and heard."

Hmmm...go figure. They don't grow here in HI, alas. I was a great fan of them back on the mainland.

Knitting proceeds apace. Tomorrow, I return to work, and a 6 hour staff meeting/training. Ugh. Psychadelic (as befits a hippie) Noro scarf will accompany me, as the perfect mindless, cheerful knitting companion.


Song of the evening: "Yeats' Grave/Daffodil Lament" by The Cranberries.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

k-brow: lace in the new year

Mom and auntie have flown the big Delta on back to West Virginia, and I am recovering from the enjoyable strain of entertaining family for 9 days. Yikes. Fun, but I'm glad to be back in the peace of my household again. P has gone back to work, and I'm free to sleep late, slugabout, and amuse the dogs at my own pace.

There has been lace knitting, of late, as I cast on for the Forest Canopy Shoulder (like is there any other kind?) Shawl in the Handmaiden Seasilk. The color isn't well-represented here, it's a melange of dark brown, grey, blue and this funny new-leaf green, called Woodland. I like it, though the greens are slightly jarring. The pattern is easy-peasy, and I'm having fun with it. I'm knitting straight from the chart, even though charts have scared me in the past. Not a problem anymore, though I have to catch myself reading them in the wrong direction sometimes...not a problem with this pattern, but not a habit I want to get into, either. So. One resolution being worked on already. Whoo-hoo!

Behold the beauty:

I have finished the Must Have back, and am now working on the front. This is an old in-progress shot of the back, in all its oatmealy goodness. I do love this yarn, and the pattern. I had miscrossed a cable last week, and the lovely Acornbud repaired it for me at knitclub. The woman is a force of nature. Ripping out and re-knitting, carrying on a conversation, she is a maven of multitasking.

Little else to report. Ravelry has happened to me, and is a kind of fruitless timesuck, as I contemplate what next to knit. Still, it is so seductive. There's been a fair amount of yoga, with plans for more, as I try and get the body back in the new year. With the yoga has come the bathing (to ease the soreness of Death by Vinyasa) with the LUSH products I happened upon last week at their big holiday blowout. I have many, many headily scented bath bombs now, and am fragrant and glittery and not as achey as I could have been.

Off to do the recycling run and put the dogs out in the sun, and then to meet Patrice for our first GNO in about 6 months.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

DisKnit: Not so Hippie Anymore

You are 41% hippie.

You're in the middle, leaning towards the non-hippie side of things, but you're not afraid to try out some hippie philosophies. Good going! An open mind is all a person really needs to lead a happy life.

Are you a hippie?
Quizzes for MySpace

Hmm. I grew up in Happy Valley. I was called a hippie in the hall in high school. But I guess I grew differently. Perhaps it is my allergic reaction to patchouli (sp?). In any case, do we think knitting is at all "hippie"-like. It was "all-american" until it seemed to be made sort-of "alternative." Hmm. perhaps we should make up a quiz about that.

k-brow: pleased with the numbers

You are 78% hippie.

You have a wide-open mind and you have gone to the hippie toolbox, taken what you needed from it, and built your own beautiful life. You defy stereotypes. Perfect score.

Are you a hippie?
Quizzes for MySpace

Thursday, January 03, 2008

DisKnit: Ravelry vs. Family Revels (1-0)

Above be the project I pretended to work on while four of us brought together by the wonders of ravelry talked last night. Despite the efforts of some souls who thought we should leave my sacred neighborhood boundaries we gathered only a few blocks from the center of [my] life. Everyone was entertaining. The service at the local Cosi was as bad as I've come to expect, but they didn't bug us to order more. Two of the attendees were on the consume less theory, so that was pleasing. I was not in such a state since I'd gotten to work late, rushed home to walk the dog, and wanted food. Still it was better than being harassed by irritated staff. The project above is the selfish knitting inspired by a trip to my original yarn store (now mecca): Webs (aka: www.yarn.com). Mom bought me enough of the pretty green stuff for a sweater, inspiring me to drop all other knitting in favor of swatching. The idea is to the base of a sweater inspired by the interweave Bonsai Tunic, but switch to a different top.

So to return to the wonders of ravelry which I know KBrow has been disdaining but to which . . . I have finally figured out. Here's why it is so fantastic: you look up a pattern you are considering and see multiple pictures of the patterns on people with different body shapes. If every catalog did this, none of us would buy clothes online anymore. But for the thinking knitter, then you can start figuring. Yes, the lace pattern, and the loose part over the hips is good, but none of that deep v-neck that just doesn't work and requires careful thinking about tops. No, no. Instead, I'll keep the fitted part under the bust, but then do a U-Neck, and long sleeves. I do live somewhere where it is damn cold right now, so . . . sleeves are key. I haven't done all the figuring yet, but . . . it should work, and allow me to stay on the sacred circular needles. There is, of course, the father's aran sweater but . . . I am in need of some selfish anticipation.

So Ravelry wins because 1) it let me has a nice social knitting nite last night and 2) is letting me compose my pattern.

And Family revels well. Stress. Curtis liked the snow, but there are no pictures of him in the snow. Revealing, I think. My grandfather is a remarkable 100 year old man now. But . . . parties for 100 year old men are . . . difficult.

My brother and mother liked their scarves (mom, even finished her own, she knew I was stressed):

Mom's sweater below the scarf is one she knitted herself. I bought her at webs some yarn for a hat like I made Patty (felted Drops pattern) and a cupcake hat for one of her great grandchildren (remarriage explains it). Otherwise, I will not discuss so called family revels. I am in sore need of a selfish vacation to go with selfish knitting.

Brother's is one I frogged and reknit with the convenient "hole" for wrapping while biking. Here he is in acrylic glory:

So those of you who want to find me on ravelry I am DisKnit. Those of you who want to disdain it, you know I am all for disdain. Meanwhile, I wonder if I care what happened in Iowa? Why should I? I am the DisEnfranchised Knitter after all.