Thursday, June 29, 2006

the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

...although I'm dead tired. I've been working an average of 60 hrs a week lately. It's supposed to slow down soon. In the meantime I comfort myself with thoughts of big fat overtime checks. I really have to get on top of my plan to become a millionaire recluse on a mountaintop somewhere. Sort of like this:

...only with shorter hair now. And of course I'll be snug in one of my two (!) hourglass sweaters. I'm almost finished with the second one. Hopefully next post will feature some knitting content. Maybe even *gasp* an FO pic.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

meme rhymes with dream

...which is what I should be doing right now. 47 hrs of work in 4 days. I'm a supa-stah.
And yet here I am, in front of the computer. I always need a little downtime when I get home. I can't just walk in the door and crash. I need to sit around and be home for a while. So here's my Blue Book Meme, seen at Pomo Golightly and Hedgeblog among other places. The story of my blue book is a little weird. It begins a little over a year ago, when I was doing archaeology in Texas on land owned by a real live honest-to-gosh Texas oil bazillionaire. I swear and declare, he had the hat, the enormous belt buckle, everything; he owns approximately three counties' worth of land; and according to a coworker who'd worked for him before, he once rolled down his truck window while driving across his land, threw out his bottle of Jack Daniels, pointed to the spot where it landed, and said to his henchman (foreman?) in the passenger seat, "I want an oil well right there, tomorrow morning." So let it be written, so let it be done! Well, this bazillionaire is weirdly generous and apparently gives out steak dinners and shots of Jack like there's no tomorrow if you catch him in the right mood. Apparently we didn't, because he gave each and every member of our crew a copy of Don't Throw Away Tomorrow: Living God's Dream for Your Life by Robert H. Schuller, the Hour of Power guy. I hate to criticize this book since, well, I haven't actually read it, but suffice it to say it's not my typical reading material. It's a hardback book and I can't bring myself to just throw it out, but I haven't made a trip to the Goodwill in over a year, either, so it just sits in its blue dust jacket on its appointed place on the floor by my desk, between the file cabinet and the stack of as-yet-unfiled papers. And when I opened it up to do this meme, I discovered the reason he'd given the books to us. They were cheap. About thirty pages are upside-down and backwards, with the edges trimmed weirdly. Thanks for this awesome religious manufacturing defect, Bazillionaire! Anyway, on to the meme.

Closest Blue Book Meme
1. Grab the nearest book with a blue cover.
2. Open the book to page 86.
3. Find the first full paragraph.
4. Post the text in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find, just the closest blue book.

My grandson E**** M**** attended the summer football camp held by his secular high school athletic department. "They had some really strong rules, Grandpa," he told me. "Respect your own body and respect the bodies of others' was the first rule. 'How do you do this?' the coaches asked. The players answered, 'Say no to substance abuse... no to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and pornography [technically, a substance!]. Say yes to exercise and a healthful diet. Say yes to discipline.'"

Well, all right, so it's actually pretty good advice. I didn't say the book was WRONG, I just would never have bought it for myself. I can sum up my opinions on the pop-psych/self-help/religious genres by stating that I howled (with laughter, but the word "no" was involved too) at Bridget Jones' question, "Can self-help books actually help self?" I'm off to have a bedtime beer now. (Sadly, no accompanying bedtime pornography. Although I hear you can get that stuff on this here internet now!)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

dammit jim, i'm a knitter, not a... oh

So yeah, I haven't finished anything lately. That's because, as of lunch break on Wednesday (aka right now) I've worked 42.5 hours so far this week. Yeeeeeah.

However, I did get my new ipod shuffle on Friday and have been checking out the knitted ipod cozy thread on Craftster trying to figure out what to make for it. Because I just can't have a naked shuffle. Hee. Pretty cool side benefit of buying directly from Apple: you can get stuff engraved on the side for free. I was considering "someday we will all be robots" or "this ipod is a pipe bomb" but decided in the end to go for... my name. I know, creative, right?

Mmmkay. Back to work. Blargh.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

because there's no knitting progress

Another meme. One Word, seen at Pomo Golightly:
Please leave a one-word comment that you think best describes me — it can only be one word long. Then copy and paste this into your blog so that I may leave a word about you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

it's a beautiful day for a meme: proximity!

From strangelittlemama:
Take a look around you. Apart from your computer and its peripherals, and your computer desk/table/milk crate and chair, what, in order of their physical closeness, are the five things nearest to you right now?
1. Empty beer bottle
2. File cabinet
3. Two 200-CD CD cases, from back in the day, before downloading
4. Student-style futon couch
5. Bookcase & ornate craft-supply shelving system

Consider yourself tagged. I hope your stuff's cooler.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

be true to your school

...or your parents' school, if that's who you happen to be knitting for. I hereby ruin a Christmas surprise:

Here's my latest acquisition, Illini sock yarn from Scout's Handpainted Swag! Sadly, the colors, which are the whole point of the photo (do you hear me, camera phone? I'm talking to you!) are distorted--the orange looks quite pink, but it's actually a true school-colors orange. The Illini colorway was originally created as a custom order for someone else. I saw it on Scout's blog and knew I had to get some and make socks for my dad, who (along with my much-less-enthusiastic mom, also a U of I alum) roots for the Fighting Illini. Even if he only wears them on game days, I know he'll like them. I can't wait to see how this puppy knits up. (I like to call things "puppies," don't you?) I think I'm going to break with my time-honored tradition and do a swatch. When I do, I'll post it here so that anyone who doubts Ms. Scout's amazing yarn-dyeing prowess will hang their heads in shame. It'll make you say "Oskee-WOW-wow!" (super-cheesy and obvious Illini-fan inside joke; yes, I'm ashamed of myself, and also reminded of the Continental).

ETA that today (now that it's past midnight) is my parents' 36th anniversary. They met at U of I. He took her out for pizza. She knit him a sweater. They managed to put up with my sisters and me. They still hold hands in public and won't let anyone sit between them at restaurants. Awwwwww.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

we did it... we beat cancer

...well, not yet, actually. Tomorrow is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and I'm doing it, along with my friend and intermittent work-out partner Wendy (sadly, she doesn't have a blog; she doesn't even have a cell phone), and a bunch of my favorite ladies. I've never done it before, but always wanted to--I'd always see it on the news later that day, after the race was over, and be like, "Ohhh I should've done that. I'm against cancer!" So I'm glad that Scout, and the Village Wools team, lit a fire under my ass this year. Here's why:

That's my grandmother. Her name was Lois, like Superman's girlfriend. She was a WAC in World War II. She was a secretary for some important general, whose name she was forbidden to disclose even years later when my mom was a curious kid, and who was involved with the Manhattan Project. She had a lot of important documents in her office, and because of that, she was required to keep a gun in her desk and do markmanship training, at a time when very few women were allowed to use guns. The Manhattan Project is where she met and married my grandfather, who was also in the army. Since they were stationed in Oak Ridge, and everything was all super-secret and they couldn't tell their families what they were doing, they had only their Army buddies there as witnesses, and as far we know, there were no wedding pictures. (We went to the museum at Oak Ridge when I was a teenager, hoping to find some trace of them, but we didn't.) Her sister Carole, my great-aunt, once told me that during the war, she and Uncle John had saved up enough gas ration to drive to Florida (from Iowa) on vacation, and she suggested to Grandma that they stop by for a visit. Since my grandmother couldn't tell her why she wasn't allowed to visit, she had to let Aunt Carole think it was personal. Aunt Carole said, "I didn't know why she was mad at me. I was so hurt. Then after the war, when we found out, I was so proud."

My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s, had a mastectomy, and thought she was done with it. But it came back. She never got her regular bloodwork done, like you're supposed to after you've had cancer, and by the time she felt sick enough to admit it and go see a doctor, it was too late.

My mom was there at the end, watching her carefully, because even at death's door my grandmother would never admit pain. If the nurses asked if she needed more morphine, she'd say she was fine. Mom and the nurses had to keep a close eye on her, to see the tension coming back into her body as the pain returned. Yeah, my grandmother was a tough old broad. I'm proud of her too. She died in September 1995. So tomorrow I'm running for her.

Dammit, now I'm all weepy.

oh, crap.

I slept through Worldwide Knit in Public Day!
Well, not the whole thing, it isn't even noon yet, but I missed knitting with my girlies at Flying Star. I ended up having to go into work yesterday on my day off, and even after I left I spent the evening feeling alternately sleepy because I hadn't slept well the night before and angry because I had another 50-hour week at what is supposed to be my McJob until I figure out what the hell I'm doing with my life. Naturally, angry took over as soon as I went to bed and I lay there thinking of really awesome comebacks to everything everybody said to me, all day, as well as everything they might say someday in the future.
Anyway, the day's not over yet. I'm bringing my circus-freak jaywalkers (yup, still working on 'em) with me everywhere I go today, since my cotton hourglass is finally too big to drag around, and hopefully I can get some pictures as evidence.

Friday, June 09, 2006

you don't need no stinking gauge swatch

...not for the Teeny Tiny Spite Sock! (Can also be used for non-spiteful purposes.) So I know the pattern was requested (and thanks! I'm flattered!) but I'm not a very strict pattern-follower to begin with, and I just kind of winged it, so prepare for a super-casual pattern.

Using sock yarn (I used Regia Crazy Colors) and size 1 needles, CO 12 stitches. I used 4 dpns, so I had four stitches on each needle (minus the working needle). Work in k2p2 ribbing for 4 rounds, then stockinette for 10 rounds.
Heelflap: at the beginning of the next round, *k4, turn work, p4, turn work, repeat from * three times.
(Now this is where it gets a little weird. The only socks I've ever made are jaywalkers, so when it came time to turn the heel I had no idea what to do, since I was only working with 4 stitches. So this is what I ended up doing--although if I knew how to do a proper short-row heel, that would have worked better, I bet.)
Turn work. K4 (the heel flap stitches), pu and k 2, k8 (the instep stitches), pu and k 2, k 16 (so that you have knit an entire round). Now let's throw in some short rows. *K 4, turn work, p 4, turn work, repeat from * once more.
Decreasing the gussets: k 4, k2 tog, k 8, ssk, k one round even, k4, k2tog, k 7, ssk. Done with the decreasing! (That's the beauty of picking up only 2 gusset stitches.)
K in good old stockinette until you feel you're ready to decrease for the toe. Then let me know how you did it, because frankly mine looks like crap, and it's all pointy and hard like a ballerina's. You know those wooden things in the toe of a ballet shoe? Like that, but with yarn.

Finishing: Don't bother weaving in ends, it'll make you want to kill yourself. And probably others. Draw the end of the yarn through the toe to the inside of the sock, and tuck the heel-end of the yarn to the inside too. And vi-ola. An apology for a late gift, a charming wee Christmas ornament, or a physical manifestation of interpersonal conflict: the Teeny Tiny Spite Sock!
(Seriously though, your comments made me all warm and fuzzy. High-fives all around.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

i got yer flingin' flangin' sock right here!

What do you do when someone who doesn't knit thinks it's the most hilarious thing ever to ask you repeatedly to make them something?

If you're me, you cast on 12 stitches, do a few rows of 1x1 ribbing, a few more of straight stockinette, do a 4-stitch-wide heelflap, pick up 2 stitches on each side for the gussets, realize you didn't turn the heel, do a few short rows, and generally make it up as you go along until you have the World's Tiniest Spite Sock. (That's a quarter for scale.)

Monday, June 05, 2006

you can't resist us, mr. powers

So I've been a sewing fool lately. I made McCalls 5137, but shirt-length instead of dress-length, and discovered that proportion-wise, it really should have been a dress. I cut down and resized an enormous hoodie that I bought for like $5 on some ill-fated field archaeology trip, when it turned freezing cold and rained unexpectedly, and we trudged, shivering, into Wal-mart to get warm and dry. And I have been making other secret, secret things for people who may read this blog. I love my sewing machine. I don't know how I survived all those years without one. I sit at my desk at work and think how I'd rather be at home, sewing. Sadly, I still have no pictures of anything I've made. I'm still working on my second hourglass sweater and my second pair of jaywalkers, but since they are my second of each, they're not as exciting as starting something new. So they're going kind of slowly. They may go slower still if I start another knitting project, which I'm trying to convince myself not to do. But I have the yarn and needles for Picovoli, calling out to me... I suppose I could always try cross-mojination.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

i am disappointed in this hat.

It's based on the Cabled Newsboy from SNBN, but I took out the cables and ribs and did eyelets instead, as you can (sort of ) see in the middle pic, and neglected to account for the difference in gauge. So the hat is sort of short and wide. I also made the brim smaller since I thought it was a little big on the first one I made, but now I think this one's too small. (Insert your own Goldilocks joke, I'm too tired for corny humor today. Or any humor, really.) Check out the picture on the right, for example. The thing is, now that I'm looking at the pics, I'm kind of liking it. But on my head, I wasn't too fond of it. It's especially hard to decide if I like it or not because it's not for me, it's for Kate, and she's 2,000 miles away and can't try it on.

I'm probably going to redo the brim. If it were for me, I'd add a pom-pom too. But it's not. Unless you want a pom-pom, Katie?