Wednesday, August 30, 2006

update on the hipster-to-robot-dinosaur transition

So I have been working on the Skully sweater from SNB for over a year now. It was supposed to be my sister Katie's Christmas present. I wrapped it up, minus one sleeve, and promptly took it back so I could finish it. It's still not finished. I feel awful.
Instead of wallowing in guilt, or you know, actually finishing the damn thing, I made her some consolation prizes.

(I brightened the photo a little and raised the contrast, since I didn't use the flash and otherwise the hat kind of blended into the background.)
Here we see the eyelet newsboy, the hat that disappointed me, then grew on me, in its natural habitat: Katie's head; and the robot dinosaur messenger bag, of which I have NO pictures but this one (because I was trying to keep it secret, you know, for the surprise factor). Oops. Anyhoodle, it's a fairly simple, squarish messenger bag in a fabric printed with dinosaurs and (inexplicably dog-like) footprints, on which I put a gray felt robot. I also did a couple of interior pockets, including a cell phone pocket of which I'm pretty proud. She seemed to like the hat and the bag, so I hope I'm forgiven for the dick move of Christmas past.

Also? Katie's boyfriend has a peg leg.

ETA: It now has two sleeves, and needs a neckband. Well, a neckband that I can fit over my head. Although I have a pretty big head, so maybe it'll fit over Katie's head just fine. The thing is, the proportions are awful. The armscyes are too big for the sleeves and the shoulders look all puffed out, and not in a cute puffed-sleeve way, but a 1980s, linebacker way. I don't want to give her a sweater that looks like crap. It's not a gauge issue either, because I used to knit much tighter and have loosened up, and also I measured. I could frog the sleeves and redo them, casting on a few extra stitches to take up the slack, but the key word there is "could"--I hate redoing things. I think the lesson I have learned from Skully is not to promise people stuff until/unless you KNOW you can pull it off. That said, I WILL finish it and give it to Katie. Someday.

Edited once more! I hope the above didn't come off as snippy, I know you guys were joking, and it is really pretty pathetic to have been working on it for over a year. Maybe I should make September the Month of UFOs and focus on Skully.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

everybody needs a holiday, a little time to celebrate

My parents' backyard. I love me some rainy trees.

I love surprises, okay? Getting and giving. Fair warning: if I know you (and like you) I may spring something totally awesome on you with zero notice. (Alternatively, I may spring something totally awful that was intended to be awesome. But hey, the love was there.) So this past weekend I went home to PA, hung out with the 'rents (check out my slang, it's tots def dated) Thursday night and Friday, then Saturday we went to the Jersey Shore. Here's where it gets shocking, so hold on to your hats. My sisters, their menfolk, my nephew, and my step-niece-to-be (whom I hadn't met yet) went to the shore that day too, expecting to meet only my parents. There was some really flattering shrieking and running when they realized the strange lady walking next to my mom was me.

It was a gray and chilly day but that meant lots of huddling in sweatshirts, sitting on the blankets, cuddling shivery munchkins, etc. It also meant that the beach was less crowded than it would've been otherwise, which is good, since for the little ones' sake we had to go to a beach with lifeguards. (My dad used to be a lifeguard, and my sisters and I are all strong swimmers, so we usually go guardless and just keep an eye on each other.) The downside of the grayness and chilliness (besides the actual, you know, grayness and chilliness while you're at the beach) was that the water was pretty choppy and the overzealous lifeguards wouldn't let us go out very far. Knee-deep was the limit, in fact. Which is pretty damn ridiculous. It's not a wading pool. My dad was so furious when he was whistled in from the breakers that he went over to the lifeguard stand and argued with them. It didn't make a difference, of course. Damn the lawyers!
In closing, I present my new niece. Check out those curly pigtails:

I come not to build sandcastles but to destroy them.

p.s. that's right, no knitting content whatsoever.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

grow, baby, grow!

In the works: Knitscene Central Park Hoodie in good old Lion Brand Woolease (and by "good" I mean "cheap, but quite soft"); Grumperina's Picovoli in knitpicks Shine; and the second circus freak jaywalker... be worked on during another taped episode of Project Runway this evening.
I'm also working on a little something special for a special someone--I knit an octopus. It's almost finished, just needs a face, stuffing, and maybe some pretty beads on the ends of its tentacles, but that's the boring part, the hideous, dull, finishing details. Once it's past the exciting, winging-it-with-no-pattern, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, "hey, I'm making something" part I get bored. This may be why I never finish anything (grad school, I'm looking at you!). I will force myself to finish it soon though, because this special person deserves a knit octopus. And speaking of works in progress, here's another:

Several months ago, my friend Wendy and I went out for a walk in a nice, houses-not-apartments neighborhood near our building and passed a man messing around in his garden, who surprised us by looking up and saying, "hey ladies, want some iris bulbs?" He was thinning his irises and had a pile of bulbs that he was just going to throw out, so we took four or five each. This is the only one of mine that's made it this far.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

saturday sky (sort of)

While watching "What Not to Wear" (you may not believe it, but I do sometimes do things other than watch fashion-related TV shows) my friend commented, "you really are a green-whore, aren't you?" when I shrieked over a pair of shoes--hey, they were moss-green suede! (Also, they had round toes. I'm a sucker for round toes.) So here's my Saturday sky, as modeled by a mountain-ash, a Douglas fir, and some aspens in the courtyard of my building. (See, I am a green-whore--I know my trees. Er, I mean, in a tree-hugger sense, not the Biblical sense.)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

i made it work

At my Project Runway marathon tonight, I confirmed that I have lost my knitting mojo. I made myself work on my circus freak jaywalker (yes, seriously second sock syndrome). And I did something--two things, actually--that I never used to do, but lately have been doing like mad. I dropped a stitch, and I didn't notice until the next row. I didn't have a teeny tiny crochet hook (suitable for sock yarn) and even though my lovely hostess probably did, I didn't ask, because I decided I'd rather sit in total stillness and watch, and criticize. What is wrong with me?

I did do something creative today, though. I made a cake. My lovely hostess, the heroic cat-rescuer Shamsi, usually invites my friend Wendy and I over for PR, since we don't have cable. She's been on vacation for the last couple weeks, so she set up her VCR to record it and we had three episodes to watch, back-to-back. In honor of the magnificent Tim Gunn, I attempt some cake decor:

The rainbow sprinkles (or "wickety-wack") are in honor of Santino... and apparently also of Angela. It was red velvet cake (maybe next time I'll make lemon chiffon), and it came out pretty well. Shamsi also had the perfect plates for it:

Sorry for the blurriness, my hands were shaking in anticipation.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

100 things

So the "100 things about me" meme has come and gone, I know, but I'm doing it now because I have no real knitting progress to report, and because I'm a rebel, dammit.
1. I already know I'm going to have trouble making it to 100
2. Unless I split things up.
3. Like this.
4. Just kidding.
5. No, really.
6. Or not.
7. Okay, plunging in. I'm not a morning person. I don't know why morning people think this is funny. I never torment them when I'm wide awake in the late evening. And I'm perfectly pleasant if left alone.
8. I'm not a "crowd" person either. Last time I went out for Fall Crawl I got groped like four times before we even got into the first venue. So I don't go anymore.
9. I live alone. I like it. I have two sisters. I did a lot of sharing. I'm taking a break from that. It's nice.
10. I don't like to knit for charity. I'll give my time, my money, my voice, my vote, whatever, but not my knitting.
11. That said, I learned to knit as part of a Hats for the Homeless project.
12. I knit so tight that my hat was just the right size for a homeless baby. Which is so freaking sad. The homeless baby, not the amateurish knitting.
13. I had cast on 20 extra stitches, too, because I have a big head and one-size-fits-all hats really don't.
14. I have since loosened up. But not much.
15. I used to be an archaeologist. I'm taking a break from that too. Which is also nice.
16. I used to live in hotels approximately three weeks out of the month. I had no social life except sitting around my coworker's hotel rooms drinking. That got old.
17. I also got tired of being the physically weakest member of the crew. I don't mind being the only woman, unless they mind. Which some of them did.
18. I'm not the kind of woman to slam a door in a man's face after he's opened it for me, but I am the kind to get angry when you lift heavy things for me, when lifting heavy things is part of my job.
19. I have a serious punctuality problem. My theory is, it's my passive-aggressive way of lashing out at the world's high expectations of me.
20. Oh yeah, and I overanalyze things. See for example #19.
21. My favorite colors are red and green.
22. I kind of like to wear them together.
23. I don't mind looking Christmassy because I love Christmas. Also Thanksgiving. And Halloween.
24. But I hate New Year's.
25. Again with the crowds. Also the drunken drivers, the pressure to make it the Best! Night! of the Year!, the emphasis on time passing, and the whole "kiss somebody at midnight" thing. I'll kiss somebody when I feel like kissing, thanks.
26. I don't usually do swaps or KALs. I'm not much of a joiner.
27. Except for the occasional meme.
28. I like to make people stuff. But I want to do it when the mood strikes me, or when I think they need something in particular, even if it's just a treat. So deadlines and themes and me? We don't mesh well together.
29. Things like this make me miss the East Coast.
30. I'm from Pennsylvania.
31. Yes, that's still East Coast.
32. My town has like 2000 residents. And it still has more of a city feel in some respects than Albuquerque does.
31. People don't make small talk with you, for one thing.
32. I always get weirded out when strangers talk to me in public. In fact, kind of annoyed.
33. Also, you can flip people off in traffic. It's no big deal. It's kind of like waving hello. But in a "screw you, jerk" kind of way.
34. After I moved to ABQ I flipped somebody off and got a talking-to by a cop.
35. Another time, the lady followed me to my destination, parked her car so that it blocked my exit, and screamed at me as I walked away.
36. Her skin looked like Victor Yuschenko's. I'm pretty sure she was on meth.
37. I don't flip people off in traffic anymore.
38. My middle name is Ann.
39. My mom and sisters have the same middle name.
40. My family is super-creative on this whole middle-name thing.
41. But at least I'm not named Madison. Or Addison. Or any of those "we want you to be a tough girl so we named you, our daughter, something that ends with son as if the only way to be strong is to be masculine" names.
42. Carl Sagan's daughter is also named Cari.
43. I get called Carl sometimes. It happened a lot more in the days of the dot-matrix printer. The i runs together, or people just assume.
44. I have a big thing about people just assuming.
45. Like when you spell your name for someone and they write it down wrong anyway.
46. What's up with that?
47. My last name is Polish. It's only been pronounced right on the first try 4 times in my life.
48. Three of those times were by people who have difficult Eastern European names themselves. So.
48. The last time it happened I squealed with delight. Yes, out loud. Yes, at work. Yes, I saved the phone message.
49. My favorite season is winter.
50. I love cold weather, cloudy skies, and wearing sweaters.
52. Yes, I know I'm in the wrong state.
53. I also love snowboarding. I've seriously considered moving to a teeny-tiny mountain town and making it the core of my existence.
54. Which would actually be great, since my existence doesn't have much of a core these days.
55. (Because I'm done with my field archaeology career and not ready to move on to... whatever's next... yet.)
56. I don't mind slacking off right now because I went straight from college to grad school, and never had a job that wasn't archaeological, except an outlet store I worked at one summer in high school. So I've never had much time to explore my other interests.
57. My lack of direction only bothers me when people who don't know me well start pestering me about it.
58. One guy at work has actually set a deadline by which time I must "change my life."
59. It's January 2007, if you care.
60. I don't.
61. He also called me a "lone wolf" once. In response, I howled.
62. I was a total tomboy. Still am, really.
63. I did have a pedicure this morning though. My second ever. I dig 'em. 64. I used to keep track of how many scars I have. If you're really nice to me, maybe sometime I'll show you my x-rays.
65. I talk to myself.
66. I sometimes crack jokes. To myself. And then I laugh, and people are like, "There she goes again. [shudder] Hide the knives."
67. My apartment is a constant mess. I like it that way.
68. Except when I can't find stuff, like my DVD remote.
69. Which is preventing me from watching my current Netflix, Goodbye Lenin.
70. I took three semesters of German in grad school. I was surprisingly good at it.
71. I meant to keep studying it on my own. But it's hard, when you've got so little self-discipline.
72. So I watch a lot of German films (but with subtitles!) and sometimes listen to Deutsche Welle's German-for-dummies podcasts.
73. I'm listening to one right now. Apparently there's something going on with drei Soldaten in Lebanon.
74. I'm much better at reading German than listening to it. It sort of reminds me of Shakespearean English.
75. I once starred in a German-class skit in which I had to yell "Ja, ich bin einen Mann!" (Yes, I am a man.) I played a drug-addicted transsexual thief. My friend played a cop.
76. My current top 5 most played songs on itunes are "Evil" by Interpol, "Goodnight and Go" by Imogen Heap, "Disposable Parts" by Enon, "I Hear the Bells" by Mike Doughty, and "I Think I Need a New Heart" by the Magnetic Fields.
77. Enon was at the Launchpad a couple years ago.
78. My friend Amy wanted to go.
79. We didn't for some reason. I wish we had.
80. My best friend's name is Jessa. She lives in DFW.
81. The first time I saw her, she was wearing light blue pants with red lobsters embroidered on them.
82. I knew we would be friends.
83. I mean, lobster pants. Come on.
84. The smell of the self-tanner I used earlier today is really getting to me.
85. There's a pool at my apartment complex. I've never used it.
86. I love to swim.
87. But I don't like having to talk to my neighbors fully dressed. In a swimsuit? Forget it.
88. If only I had a waterproof ipod.
89. Science needs to stop looking for a cure for cancer and get on that.
90. Oh wait, apparently you can buy a waterproof case.
91. Eh. I don't trust it. These newfangled inventions, I tell ya. The more parts they have, the more parts there are to break.
92. That's why I like driving a stick, hand-knitting, etc. So that when the end times come, yes, I'll stay down here on earth with the rest of the heathens, but at least I'll have something to wear and drive when the antichrist destroys automatic transmissions and the ready-to-wear garment industry.
93. My favorite colors are... oh, I already said that.
94. I have two orange backpacks and two yellow backpacks. Graduated sizes. Two with hydration systems. Archaeologists need a lot of backpacks.
95. So what the hell am I supposed to do with them now, I ask you.
96. Save them for the end times, obviously.
97. When the antichrist will also destroy purses, messenger bags, rucksacks, briefcases, and totes.
98. And we'll have to carry everything in our bare hands.
99. Thank God this is almost done.
100. Because I'm rambling on about backpacks, ferantichrissakes.