Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Child's Bicycle, a Street Sign, Doggie Chew Toys, and More!

Those are some of the things that we've found under the bushes in our back yard! And that is part of the reason I have been writing so little. I don't know if I've explicitly stated this before or not, but we have a crappy old house house that is terribly in need of love. I shouldn't say too many bad things about it -- truth be told, I think that will simply create bad karma/tension between us and the house -- so I will simply say that we have our work cut out for us. Anyway, we just moved here at the end of September, got married at the beginning of October, etc., etc., and we have been slightly overwhelmed. But, this week, we finally got through THE EVIL VAULTS in our back yard and can now both stop spending money on the darn things every month and go through some of our stuff. Hopefully we'll feel like we've moved in one of these days.

Needless to say, this work around the house has not prevented me from getting myself started on way too many things lately. By things, of course, I mean knitting projects. Yes, despite Ms. Harlot's warnings, I have been struck by ...duh, duh, duh... (loud announcer voice) START-itis....

My WIPs:
1) I STILL haven't finished that darn baby blanket. I hate sewing in the ends.
2) I am finishing sock number one from the Rockin' Sock Club. I have never done cables before and it is an interesting experience. I'm psyched to be doing something new, but I have the unfortunate feeling that these socks are not going to go onto my feet w/ these darn cables. Maybe this feeling is the result of the KAL/blog that is associated w/ this sock club. I love it for many reasons -- it's nice to see who's out there knitting with me and I've definitely learned a lot from the comments (for example: cable loosely because the socks may not fit otherwise!) -- but I also find the comments made on the blog a little discouraging or frightening. I mean, I read them and I think: If these people can't do these socks, how could I possibly do it?? But, I carry on anyway. The only way to get anywhere with them is to just do it, right?
3) I am working slowly on a very simple cardigan out of Noro still. I love the colors so much that it really keeps me going, but for some reason (surely not the fact that I have a million things going at once), I don't seem to be getting through it very quickly!
4) ... boy, who knew that this list would be so long? ... I started a hat (yesterday!!) for the Harlot's tour. I don't know if they'll still be collected or not, since it seemed to be primarily for the NYC event, but I'm making one just in case. My best excuse for it: I'm getting a chance to practice cabling a bit more before carrying on with my socks that may be a failure.... Hope to have it done for Tuesday when she'll be out in Oakbrook, IL.
5) I have to finish the dress I started for my mom's dog, Trixie. Yes, you read that right. I don't know if it's the right size and shape for her really. I started it when she was 3000 miles away from me and I couldn't check (I was in Boston, she was in San Jose, CA). Now I can hopefully fix it before I hand it over. My mom is really hoping that I have it done before Easter. Yes, really. We'll see about that.
6) Well, we won't talk about the rest of the things in the bin waiting to be worked on -- like the sweater I started for my husband a few years ago....

I have to say that writing that all out was therapeutic and has definitely helped convince me that I need to stop starting for a while. Go team go! I will finish these items...really I will.

And, I won't even begin on the list of books I'm in the middle of (two Salman Rushdie books, one John Irving book, etc.), but I WILL mention that last night my husband and I went to Women and Children First to hear Rebecca Walker (daughter of Alice Walker (Color Purple), but writer in her own right) talk about her new book. She was delightful!! She was so funny and charming. We both really, really enjoyed it. And, my husband gets major points for being the only man in the room.

No, no pictures this time. It was all I could do to write this time. :/ I know it makes the posts exceptionally less interesting.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Just Do It Already!

Uff, there are a lot of things that I've been putting off lately. Instead of doing those things, I have written in this blog or done other things. So, what has been good about this week, while I have been putting off this blog is, I have finally not been putting off other things. This is good news!

First things first, though. This past Saturday was St. Patrick's Day and so I went downtown with my mother and my husband to see the dyeing of the Chicago River green. I've never really seen it before and so I thought now was the time. The crowds were horrendous so we gave up entirely on the whole parade idea, but the day was beautiful and it was enjoyable. Here is the place where they put the dye in:

I know it doesn't look all that green, but trust me when I tell you that it was very green. Check this out:

Also good is the fact that my mother completed the knitting bag that she was making for me.

Here is a photo of the inside and the outside:

Things I finally started:
1) My Noro sweater that is sooooo yummy. I am loving the colors, which is great since I was a little concerned that I might not once I began to knit it. Sometimes skeins that are made of so many different colors are much more beautiful in theory (in the skein) than they are in practice (the worked product). I am farther than this now, but here is proof!

2) My Socks that Rock socks! Hooray! I was so afraid of starting these things. I don't know if it was the comments that other sock club members made about how difficult these babies were or what, but avoid them I did. Well, I was afraid of the provisional cast-on for one thing. But, I have taken it one step at a time (no pun intended -- these are socks we are talking about, after all) and it has worked out okay so far. Though, they are taking forever because I am working the foot in 0s. Yep, tiny. I am still afraid of the legs -- whether I'll have the right size needle or not -- and more specifically, the cables. I've never done freaking cables before, let alone doing them in something where their apparent ability to completely zap the stretchability out of something can be life-ending (for the project)! That alone strikes fear in me. But, I shall carry on -- especially since I don't want to deal with sewing in the million ends on the Teddy Bear blanket. Or with finishing the bear himself.

This is just the swatch that I knit, but still it does make me feel like I've accomplished something just seeing it. In reality, I am past the toe. But no further.....

3) Emptying out the pods that are in my back yard. Well, we didn't get all that far with those, but often with fun projects like that, starting is half the battle.... Right? Maybe....

Things that I am still successfully putting off:

1) My teddy bear blanket finishing. The good news is that I was able to fix the terrible shaping by simply re-binding off the outside with needles that were one size larger. Simple fix, right? The problems that I'm having with the connection between the seed stitch portion of the blanket and the stockinette portion is not all that fixable at this point as far as I know. It is not warping nearly so badly w/ the outside fixed, but the seed stitch still doesn't want to lie flat with the blanket so much. I am hoping that blocking this thing will help some, but honestly, it's cotton and acrylic, so how much can really change?

2) Looking for lots more jobs to apply to. I had an interview today which was good, but I won't know what they've decided for a few more weeks. I need more places to apply to! :( I don't really feel like looking, though.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Well then... (Rockin' Sock Club Spoiler)

So, I have had some good moments and some bad ones over the past couple of days (primarily yesterday). Mostly things are very good: there is sun, snow is melting, my cats (and husband) rock, and I got my first Rockin' Sock Club shipment yesterday. That shipment was like manna from heaven. I thought it was never going to get here -- I've been reading for what, a week?, about other people's drooly moments when they got their package and I've just been dying to see it!! I avoided all the spoilers, etc. and finally it was here.

I nearly tackled the postman (recurring theme among us in the club) when I saw that he had a package that looked like the ones posted on the Sock Club blog, but I was so afraid that it wouldn't be the package that instead, I sat in my car holding my breath, waiting to see if he would take it into my yard and put it on my porch. Much to my amazement, he did, and I got to fondle the yarn finally.

I will start by saying that this yarn is not a color that I would normally pick out and neither is the pattern. However, as I stated on the RSC blog, I am truly excited about the opportunity to delve into different patterns and colors than I have before. This is exactly why I joined the club -- to do new things! So, I am very happy about this shipment -- I think the yarn is incredible and beautiful even though it's different from what I would normally do. It is soft and the colors are soooo rich. I have spent more time fondling this yarn than is healthy and I don't think I've spent quite so much time just holding onto my yarn before. Seriously. It's kind of sick.

Just to prove how sick I am, here is a picture of the yarn becoming part of the family (please ignore the nasty walls, etc. -- long story).

And, here is my cat Chopper welcoming the folder and all of the package contents into the home (I just hope he's willing to give them back to me some time -- I DO need that pattern, after all).

So, what is the bad news? The puckering on my blanket. The puckering, amazingly, does not come from the tying together of the loose ends, but from the seed stitch on the outside. This is
what I think is the problem, anyway. I think that when I switched to seed stitch it changed the gauge of the knitting and therefore, it tightened up -- hence the puckering. So, I have devised a clever plan (hopefully) that should fix it. Maybe. I realized that it would be impossible for me to change my tension through that whole bit of knitting around the outside of the blanket, so I am going to frog to the beginning of the seed stitch and I am going to go up one size needle to see if that will loosen it up enough to do the job.

Of course, that won't help w/ the puckering in the center, but I plan on pretending like that isn't happening. Maybe I can block some of that out? PLEASE keep your fingers crossed for me!!