Tuesday, October 28, 2008

snow day!

...and I'm giddy as a schoolgirl! Snow before Halloween! This bodes well for the coming winter-- at least I hope! Blurry cell phone pics of my drive to school:

The school parking lot--note the snowplow piles--where I ran into another teacher and discovered school had just been canceled, which explained the odd lack of buses in the other lot:

And a church that I passed on my way home:

And because we're crazy about photos here at implosion explosion today, here's my sister's Christmas mitten taking a bath. I love how you can see the reflection of the lace curtains in the surface of the water.

And because we're also crazy about other people's photos, check out the Library of Congress's 1930s-1940s in color photo set. I do wish, however, that random jackholes were not enabled to put notes on them, like this one for example, or this one. Why aren't assy comments enough? Why mar the actual photo with an assy note?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

odds and ends

1. Rehire meeting at the mountain yesterday. I got to see all my snowboard-instructor buddies and plot this winter's adventures (upside) and remember what a gossip factory the place is (downside). I may be going to a women's clinic in Vermont in December and taking my AASI Level 1 in New York in January. Yay! And better yet--I'm supposed to be getting a Burton pro form, with which I can order massively discounted stuff! I love my old board and its spray-paint customization (see my avatar), but it's a little stiff and I want a new, shorter, poppier one. I'll save the old one for teaching (kids are always running over your board, grr) and rocky spring days.

2. Restarted the Herringbone mittens with some Paton's classic merino and finished the first one, with kind of a weird thumb that I refuse to fix. These will be going to my older sister for Christmas and will be the only gift I knit. (Famous last words.)

3. I am teaching all this week--from my own lesson plans, I mean; my mentor teacher has been letting (making?) me teach since the first week of school. So I'm not too nervous, but now my professors will be coming to observe me. So that's going to be a bit tough, but then, I passed my six-month observation while teaching in Japan with flying colors even though I was nervous as hell, so hopefully this won't go too badly.

4. And speaking of Japan, today is the anniversary of the day my company filed for bankruptcy protection. I'm not marking the day with anything special, just noting. It's satisfying to think about how far I've come. Then: miserable, directionless, angry, broke. Now: happier, directed, ...still broke. But the semester will end and the season will start, and I'll be riding (hopefully on a new board!) every day again.

5. Dinner's ready. Gotta go.

Monday, October 20, 2008

finding a balance

I just ripped out the Herringbone mittens I had started because a) I screwed up and misread the thumb chart and b) I decided there was too much contrast between the white and dark blue yarns. Even though I like all the finished products in black and white and other high-contrast schemes on Ravelry. For some reason mine just looked bad. Possibly partly because my gauge was a little loose and it all looked sloppy. I don't know.

I forced myself to take a knitting hiatus after finishing my Endpaper mitts to try to force myself to get some schoolwork done, on the theory that I can't type if I'm knitting. You know what I ending up doing? Nothing. I know it's a cliche to say that knitting is meditative, but I got nothing done for a whole weekend. I managed to bang out a really crappy conclusion to a paper and that's it. Then I started some mittens and all of a sudden, I was back on track. Thought up a really great activity for a lesson plan, thought of a couple of sources to use for a resource anthology, etc. It's so funny to have it brought home so literally--all the jokes we knitters make about knitting to stay sane, etc. Although isn't that the definition of dependence? That you can't get by without it?

My name is Cari, and I am knit-dependent.

Friday, October 17, 2008

playing with my layout

I have a wide screen, so I don't know how this all looks on a normal square screen. Is the picture (of the mug/endpaper mitts) on the top right too large? Is it all out of wack? How's it lookin'?

In other news, I have decided that, rather than taking my attention away from schoolwork, knitting helps me to concentrate. Last weekend, after I finished the bulky pom-pom hat, I made myself not knit. Instead of getting tons of work done, I got absolutely nothing done, despite my hands being free to type. I just stared slack-jawed at the laptop as I perused the internets. So now I am going to try to knit in moderation. I started these herringbone mittens (ravelink) last night and can't decide if they look totally wack (that's my word today, apparently) or not. I'll have to knit a few more rows and see, and then maybe try it with different yarns, because I think the contrast between the two colors is too great. I love all the versions I've seen on the Rav, so it must just be me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

note to self: chunky knits go fast. do these more.

FO: One-day chunky beanie, loosely based on Knittingdropout's Really Warm hat (ravelry link).
Yarn: Cascade 128 tweed in cerulean.
Needles: 10 1/2 dpns, which I think they should make longer. It's pretty hard to keep all those chunky stitches on such short needles.
What I was supposed to be doing instead: writing a paper on motivation, which I am ironically unmotivated to finish.

Friday, October 10, 2008

"you look like woolly madonna"

That's what I was told by a classmate yesterday, on account of my Endpapers. I'm taking it as a compliment.
I took them for a test hike last night, followed by test wine drinking.
Woolly Madonna strikes a pose:

Woolly Madonna's hard-partying lifestyle gets the better of her:

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

stick a fork in 'em

they're done. FO: Endpaper mitts by the awesome, awesome Eunny Jang. The orange is Dale Baby Ull and the grey is Paton's Kroy sock yarn. The gargoyle mug is a high school graduation gift (yes, an eleven-year-old mug, having survived roughly eleventy-billion different apartments and houses) made by an art professor at the local university who's a friend of my mom's. (I should see if she has a website.) I can't wait til the second mitt dries so I can wear them EVERY DAY.

Oh, and you guys--it's really, really hard to take a picture of your own hands when no one else is home. I had to hit the "take" button with my chin. Next camera I own will have a self-timer.


The skein of orange leftover from my Anemois, which I am using to make some Endpaper mitts, just ran out with only six rows of colorwork to go on the second mitt. I do have another skein, but was hoping to return it for store credit. Now I'll have an almost-full skein of orange sock yarn. Well, I'll figure something out. It will come in handy sometime.

I dug through the many, many boxes of books and pre-digital photos in my parents' attic yesterday and found my 1,000 Great Knitting Motifs, and am now plotting a follow-up to the Endpapers. I'm trying to decide between a pattern that looks like a wave, bunnies, or hearts. Yeah. I'm thinking if I go with the hearts, I'm just going to be super-obnoxiously girly and use red on pink, or pink on red. Depends how much pink I have left, of course, since I'm ALMOST DONE WITH MY ENDPAPERS and ran out of orange. Dammit.

ETA It's done and blocking! Wheeeeeee!

Friday, October 03, 2008

it's mitten season

When I was sixteen, my cat died five days before Christmas. Around New Year's we started looking for a new cat. (I know, so soon, we're heartless etc.--but the house seemed so empty without a cat.) Multiple pet stores and the SPCA told us "It's not kitten season." Which we thought was ridiculous the first time, but after the fourth or fifth time, you start to doubt yourself, like maybe cat fertility is seasonal after all, and you'll just have to wait until spring or something. When the cats come out of hibernation and start pollinating. Or something. Finally my older sister bought a kitten on the spur of the moment, out of pity, from a dirty, ill-kept pet shop. She was so skinny that petting her was like playing the xylophone and she had mange and all kinds of gastrointestinal issues. She had been a Christmas kitten who'd been taken from her mother too young and given to a family with small children who didn't know how to treat a pet. So that's why it wasn't kitten season. All the kittens, regardless of age, had been sold for Christmas presents. (We named her Amelia, and she is now an old lady, even if she doesn't know it.)

All that was to explain the title. Mitten season, kitten season. Yeah. Give me a break, I'm having a tough semester.

I took my mittens and my friend Candice hiking yesterday. We took a bajillion pictures of the changing leaves, some of which actually came out, and complained about school. It was awesome.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


That visual squeal of excitement translates to: they're done, they're done, they're done! My Anemois are finished! I can't believe I knit something a) so complicated b) in such a short time--less than a month, even less if you subtract the two weeks in the middle when I didn't work on them at all c) during such a difficult semester d) without going insane.

(In case you're wondering, the answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE. I rock!)

The only problems I had were curbing my to-hell-with-the-pattern tendencies enough to make sure everything was done right, and my tension. I loosened up a lot as I got better at fair isle. The second mitten turned out MUCH bigger than the first, and floppy. You know how I hate floppy knits, so I was sad. Then I decided to try to shrink the mitten in the dryer to make it match the first, which is a little long but perfect width. This sounds like the beginning of a tale of woe, doesn't it? But it isn't!!! It actually worked! And, bonus, the mitten is now dry (hence the name "dryer") from its blocking and ready to wear when I go hiking with my friend Candice this evening! Cue Preston Myers: "It was like everything was falling into place... as if it were fate!"

Naturally, my camera battery just died, so I'll leave you with this tiny snippet of an Endpaper mitt, which I cast on for last night as soon as I broke the yarns at the tip of the second Anemoi thumb. (I am voracious for fair isle. Fair isle is my anti-drug. Ooh, that's good, I should've saved that for a post title.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

the headless scarfwoman

Long-belated FO post.
Last summer, I completed a Tivoli. Elated, I wore it to work to show off. It stretched. It stretched like a mofo. It was embarrassing to wear. I did not admit to anyone that I'd made it, and that's saying a lot, considering I usually say, "And I made it! Don't believe me? Here's where I made a mistake!" No, it looked baggy and saggy and awful. (The yarn, by the way, was Knitpicks Shine sport. This was my second great mishap with cotton. May it be my last, for I have learned my lesson.) So, weeping, I frogged it as I knit it in a long, skinny Clapotis. (Yes, another Clapotis.) And you know what? I still don't like it. It's heavy, but yet has no substance--it's floppy and droopy and generally in need of fiber-Viagra. (This photo was preceded by significant "fluffing," as they say in show biz. And by "show biz" I mean p0rnogr@phy.) And it's slippery whereas I prefer my yarn a little more on the grabby side. I like my scarves to put up some resistance to the forces of gravity, so that they don't slide further and further into the chokehold position--not only because it's dangerous to my air supply, but because it visually shortens the neck. So unflattering. (Don't believe me? Ask Tyra Banks!)
And the best part? I still have half a Tivoli to frog! I should've made this wider, but I was afraid I wouldn't have enough! And here it is, long enough to wrap around twice and still fall past my waist. Maybe if I double-stranded it and knit at a pretty tight gauge, I could get it up (heh) to my desired level of sturdiness...

In other news, my Anemois are so close to being finished! I just have to close the top of the second mitten and then do the thumb. Yay! Warm, insanely-bright mittens just in time for October! And in other other news, I've decided I need to get back to bringing my camera with me everywhere. Taking the back way to school today, I crested a hill and saw the most beautiful sunrise-on-valley-fog, complete with fall foliage and whatnot, and I thought how very, very important it was to share that with my blog readers, probably with a significant portion of it blocked by my big head making a silly face.