Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aaaahhh, weekend

I needed it. I'm still pretty stressed out, but I got to chat with some friends, have some downtime, and knit a whole lot, and I feel better. DH's job search is still ongoing, but we have hopes that a few resumes he put out will bear some fruit. Or a paycheck, that would be even better. We are making plans for the future and I'm pretty excited about them.
I still feel overwhelmed and restless. I always feel that way this time of year - after so many years of school, I feel like I should be learning new things, going new places, and meeting new people. I realized the other day that I've lived in Tucson longer than I've lived any other place in my whole life, and I'm kinda over it. Couple that with job stress and money stress and I'm just wishing I could drive away and start over somewhere. You know, with The Bug and DH. I always enjoyed the fall weather in southern Arizona, until I started reading all these knitting blogs from you New Englanders and others, and now I'm unsatisfied. I want colors, and crisp air, and frost on the flowers in the mornings.
On the knitting front, I have made progress on the eyelet sweater. Yesterday I knit compulsively on it. It was bizarre - I was actually bored and restless, but I couldn't put it down.


Here is the back, and the front I finished this morning. I had to rip a few rows at the top to get the armscye to match the back, but it lined up pretty well, especially given that this is my first sweater. (Well, I've knit kids' sweaters, but those were knit from the button band around.) The front is roughly four days' work - two evenings, one full Saturday, and a tiny bit this morning. Compare that to four days' work (evenings only) on the Cheshire Cat stole:


Holy cow that's a crappy picture. Oh well, I'm too lazy to take another. Taken Friday after I cast on for the front of the eyelet sweater. (This was the comparison photo I was trying to describe last post.)
Anyway, I can tell I'm going to have to put in some serious time on the stole to have a chance of finishing it before Christmas.

Since my gauge is off on the cardigan (which, happily, allows me to knit the largest size and have it fit my extra large measurements), I think the pattern is wrong in places (notably the neck shaping for the fronts and the numbers to bind off at the shoulder, so far) and I'm messing with the armscyes, I think I will knit a sleeve next to see how they'll fit. I do wish there was some spreadsheet somewhere that would calculate the sleeve caps based on the armscye measurements (you know, a FREE spreadsheet) but in all my searching I only found visual aids that required graph paper and manual counting. I might try that, or I might just try to fudge.
Mmmmm, fudge.
Oh yeah, and go look at these. Y'all, that's sugar.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Where did my summer go? Why isn't fall here yet?

Yup, that's me. Always complaining. Summer goes by too quickly, but why isn't the fall weather here yet?
I am getting a handle on the work situation. The drama queen that was MDfC (the F stands for "former", by the way) had me all worked up, but a few days of digging into the work, and a few conversations with other more reasonable people have shown me that it's not nearly as bad as she made it out to be. I'm still exhausted and have much work left, but no one will kill me if I don't get it done by Friday. I told the manager it wouldn't be done, explained why (it helped that I'm waiting on other people who are doing Far More Important Things this week) and told him I'd get it finished as soon as possible. All better. Why she couldn't have done that all those months in the past when she was near tears, sighing heavily with all the terrible burdens of work she had to do, I will never know, nor care.
I have cast on one of the fronts of the eyelet sweater. This time I remembered to use a larger needle for the cast on, so the scallops are sweet and lovely and nicely defined. Tonight is lace night, though, so unless I finish the border of the stole, it will be all pink cashmere at my house tonight. Oh, poor me, I have to play with cashmere.
I found it mildly entertaining to note the difference between the beginning of the sweater and the beginning of the stole.

Drat. I took a picture last night, but the internet was being funky and wouldn't upload. I just remembered. Oh well, picture 8 rows of worsted blue yarn, which is wider than 12 rows of laceweight pink yarn. Master (Mistress?) of the Obvious, that's me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

If it's Tuesday, this must be

coming to you from the office.
The work continues apace. I am learning new tools in a crash course, brushing up my HTML skill (which, until this week, were limited to this blog. Oy.) and trying to figure out what the hell I'm doing. Part of the problem was the state of things left by MDfC, part of the problem is that this is a new product with a maverick developer and no one person controlling the outcome. And no one person to tell me what exactly it is they want. I have 14 items that may or may not apply, and since I don't know the product, I'm not intimately familiar with the content, and can't answer those questions myself either. Sigh.
DH has found his dream job. He applied over the weekend, and in his head has already been offered the job, accepted it, bought woodland property and moved in. The reality of course isn't quite there (see: he applied over the weekend), but please keep your fingers crossed for us. It would be a better job in a better town with a lower cost of living. That would be neat.
In fibery news, I have been knitting. It's the only thing keeping me sane, actually. I have yet to cast on the front of the cardigan, but tonight is SnB and I will do it there. I have been knitting a bit on the Cheshire Cat stole, but holy cow. Laceweight on size 2 needles does not a speedy FO make. I need to measure my gauge and the stated gauge of BigAlice's prototype and see if I wouldn't be better served to go up a size or two in the needles. It is making a lovely, soft, flowy fabric that MIL will love, though. Mmmmm, cashmere.
I also dyed some fiber this weekend. Dave of Cabin Cove did a post recently on predrafting his rovings, and I learned much. (Actually, I learned that what *I* thought was predrafting wasn't much, and that I might be happier if I took more time with the fiber prep.) I dyed up some roving with the big ol' box of Wilton's that I bought to make Bug's birthday cake. I think it came out pretty neat. (The colors in this photo are pretty close to true, though they don't really glow like that.)
I dyed four ounces and will try to spin close to fingering weight.
And now, off to work again. Sigh.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Still sputtering

MDC has gone away, and I have been graced with the maintenance of two of her projects. Have you ever looked at someone else's work and wondered how they manage to dress themselves without help? I am so angry at the state of the work left for me and the deadline under which I find myself, I sputtered to my remaining two coworkers for more than an hour on Friday. (Their main comments, aside from offering me help, bless them, is that they're both glad she didn't actually DO anything to the projects they each got.) I am furious that either she was so incompetent or so unethical as to leave the work in the state it's in, with a deadline in FIVE DAYS. Had I been working on these projects from the beginning, I would be wrapping them up by now. Instead, there are still things undone, unedited, and unproduced, and not one single bit of paper trail to let me know which items are complete and which still need work. She even went so far as to tell me, in front of the boss, that she was sure it would be okay if I was a week late. !!!!!!!!!!!! My boss's eyes about popped out of her head. (Followed by the pointed comment to me, "Don't you be the reason this deadline slips." No kidding.) I have tried all my life not to hate, but I'm losing the battle with this one. Thailand can keep her, the useless waste.
I finished the back of the cardigan on Friday night (or Saturday. Was it Saturday? I can't even remember now.) I LOVE the way it looks. I held it up against my back and it's just the right length, and hopefully the right width, though since it's stockinette it was hard to judge with the edges curling. I didn't immediately cast on the fronts or the sleeves, though. I'd promised myself that I could cast on the cheshire cat stole by BigAlice. I went scrounging for my 2.75mm needle, and ended up cleaning out my entire project corner. Said corner was 5% projects, 15% books and magazines, %5 leftover yarn balls, and 75% trash. Why didn't I take care of that months ago? Anyway, it's all tidy, and after I'd finished I found the stupid &*)(@*&(%&*)# needle on my desk. Sigh. I cast on a little while ago and was unreasonably entertained by the looooooooong row of tiny furry pink stitches on my needles. Can I just say something? (Yeah, like you can stop me.) I love the beginning of a new project. I love the possibilities of yarns, fibers, patterns, in new and exciting combinations, or old standbys. I love the potential. And I love knitting. Lace (whooda thunk?), cables, socks, sweaters, I love it all. But I bloody hate casting on.
So, since I'm clearly in such a fine mood, I suppose I'll cast on for one of the fronts of the sweater. Then I can get moving and enjoy myself for a little while longer when the pattern finally gets going.
As a reward for making it through all that ranting, pissing, moaning and whining, I present one of Bug's favorite foods: peet-zee.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just another manic... Thursday?

Doesn't have the same ring, does it?
Well, my life has exploded. MDC (most despised coworker) is moving away. HOORAY! To another whole continent! HOORAY! I'm pretty sure I won't be able to hear the crunching of the granola all the way from Thailand. BUT. I got two of her products to support. That brings my total up to SIX. Soon, one of those will go away, and I will have all kinds of free time, because I will only have five. eyebrow Assuming I still have a job at all. Sigh.
DH is in the construction business. He vacillates between "YAY, I'm going to make so much money you can retire and we'll pay off the house in five years" and "OMG, we're going to be in the poor house and I have to find new jobs NOW - how do you feel about Las Vegas?" Sigh.
Someone told the Bug that it was okay to be terrible because he's two. Sigh.
At least the knitting is okay. The eyelet sweater is an insanely enjoyable knit. I'm getting a little bored after 23 inches, but I'm almost finished with the back. I think I have about three more inches to go. It's quite pretty, and I am looking forward to wearing it. The Cheshire Cat Stole is breathing down my neck, though, and the pink cashmere is whimpering when I get near it, asking to be cast on. I have decided I will allow myself to start it when the back of the cardigan is finished, before I cast on for a front or sleeves. I have a small hope that I will get it finished for Christmas so I can give it to MIL. I got the bicone beads (a deep glittery rose that I absolutely love, despite my general aversion to pink) so the only thing stopping me is willpower. Willpower is not my strong point, so I need to finish up the cardigan back soon.
Anyway, yes, I said it. Christmas. It's coming. Fast. Next week is the end of September. (How the hell does that happen? Sheesh.) I have very modest plans for crafting this Christmas. One stole, several knitted wire candleholders like these, and a quilt. The quilt top is completed, and only needs quilting (by machine, I'm not totally out of touch with reality) and binding. I think I can do it. Time will tell.
Bug thinks it's all good.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My little boy and his queens

The Bug is TWO today! I can scarcely believe it. Thank goodness he's still a little snuggle-beast in the mornings. Soon he'll be pushing me away and saying, "NO, Mama!" when I want hugs. [sob]


In honor of the little man's birthday, I present a photo dictionary of Bug terms.






Queen. (He has two Lightning McQueens, and carries the smaller one everywhere, along with "May" - Mater.)




Mama. (Hanger included for scale. That's cashmere laceweight, people.)



Friday, September 14, 2007


I knitted and knitted on my little sweater last night. This morning I woke up and my right arm has some sort of spasm and my hand is sort and tired. SOB. No knitting until it feels better. I wonder if I can still spin?

Oh yeah, and NEXT Thursday, the low here is supposed to get all the way down to 70F. I might survive this summer after all.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A random assortment

The weather is cooling down a little, but it's still not cool. (High 90s for the week.) The mornings and evenings are lovely, but the days are still pretty brutal, especially after the comparatively lovely weather in Montana. I spent all this past weekend in the house, knitting and spinning and letting the house go all feral on me. As a result of the heat and the mess, I am exhausted. (Have you ever noticed that when your house is messy, you feel more tired and restless?)
I knit on my eyelet sweater (from the Classic Elite City Park collection) all day Sunday. I ripped what I'd started and restarted in a different size - my gauge was such that the extra stitches allowed me to knit their largest size as written, though I am making a few modifications as I go along. Most notably, I'll need to increase the armscyes and the length of the sleeves. I still love this pattern and this yarn.


Note: that's not a goldfish crumb, it's the model from the book, showing through one of the eyelets...

I am the worstest most awful sockpal ever. Nancy sent me TWO beautiful pairs of socks just hours before we left for Montana - a cotton blend, cuffed lime green pair, and a pair of anklets in Regia Bamboo, in a colorway I actually have in my stash. I left them behind because we were already packed, and the cleaning lady put them "away". I haven't been able to figure out where "away" is yet, and I think I'm going to have to leave her a note when she comes back. I've looked everywhere I can think to look, and so far, no such luck. (I have this deep fear that I actually took them to Montana and they got lost during the suitcase search.) I could just kill myself - I want to wear them! They fit perfectly and are such great colors and snuggly yarn. Of course, the Lord of the Flies set that is my living room isn't helping matters. I suck bigtime. (That's why there have been no pictures. GAH!)

ETA: I found them! Apparently, the knitting goddess just wanted me to publicly admit that I'm the kind of bonehead who misplaces handknit socks before she ever wears them. I am a loser, and I admit it. Here they are!


Thanks again, Nancy! You can bet these will go straight to my hand-knit socks drawer.

I have always heard that spinning is easiest with good fiber prep. I thought I had good fiber, and had someone show me how to predraft, but I think I still wasn't doing it right. I hoarded my good fibers until I could spin something worthy of them, but I was using crappy stuff that made things harder. I got frustrated, and didn't want to spin at all. I dug out my Grafton batt the other day, and WOW. It's not perfect by a long stretch, but geez - that stuff practically drafts itself. I also moved my wheel to the carpet, which makes the skittering effect go away, and I spent a pleasant hour or so spinning my little heart out. It was great, when The Bug wasn't trying to grab the footman or make the wheel spin the other direction.


Who, me?

Friday, September 07, 2007

As promised

Some fiberotica.

Click to embiggen, as always.

First, Dream in Color Smooshy.


Beach Fog and Wisterious.

Next, Hand Jive Nature's Palette Fingering.



Souvenir Mountain Colors Bearfoot.



TA-DA!!! Dizzy Blonde (aka La) yarns.


JenLa. (Isn't it gorgeous? The Bug thought so. This one really deserves its own post, but since I can't figure out how to spell that Homer-Simpson-drooling sound, I saved it for last here.)

And now, some stitch markers!


Won on the Kidnapped Can Opener naming contest, from Sachi's Purls.


From La. Aren't they cute?! They're Bugs, get it?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Back. [whew]

We are home. The trip there was eventful (what do you mean, the flight is closed and we have to fly standby at an ungodly hour tomorrow or pay 1000 additional dollars to be guaranteed the right to fly at an ungodly hour tomorrow?). The first day was the fair, of which there are few pictures. Partly because I forgot, and partly because the Bug was sick from breakfast and barfed spectacularly all over himself and his new carseat. (You can thank me that I'm not so obsessed with this blog thing that I took pictures of that.)
This is what I saw at the fair:


That bag at the left? The gray one? In real life, it was the most beautiful shimmery silver, I wanted to roll in it. I loved fondling the fibers, touching the still-greasy fleece. By the way? Fleece in the grease isn't nearly as nasty as it sounds. I lovedlovedloved the feel of it on my hands.

We also saw some of these:



Forgive the crappy photos - I was using DH's camera and wasn't terribly used to it yet.

There was a picnic at SIL's house, during which The Bug got to run with his cousins, play with toys that weren't his, and ride on Uncle D's motorbike. He loved it. I have the picture in my head (but the camera wasn't handy) and his little mouth open wide in a squeal of joy is one of those things that I hope will flash through my head in my last moments. If it does I can die happy (though not anytime soon, I hope).

Later DH borrowed his sister's Harley and went off with Uncle D for a ride, and the Bug and I went to the river.

I looked for a knitting spot.


Great view, but no place to sit.


Lots of shade, but too far from the river.


Beautiful spot, but too hot in the sun.


Ahhhh, just right.

The Bug slept for the better part of three hours while I wandered and knit. It was heaven.

That evening was dinner on the porch at Uncle J's. The Bug couldn't get enough of the grass. Cousin C showed him how to roll down the hill.


He didn't quite get the concept of the "down the hill" part, and would just roll from side to side in the grass at the bottom.


He ran more in those few days than I think he's done in his whole little life. The trip home was a nightmare of turbulence, bad storms and missed flights, but mostly, we had loads of fun.


Later, there will be fiberotica. (Thanks, Juno, for that great word.)

AND, just WAIT till you see my sockpal package. You will be positively green with envy. :-)