About Me

My photo
O'ahu born and Rockville bred, both Maryland and Hawai'i are home. Middle-aged knitter (believe me, my 40 is NOT the new 20) seeking the courage to live consciously, each and every moment. Now if I could just remember where I put my keys...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chptr 50: Knitting Knitting Knitting

Wow. So much to write about but I'm in knitting overdrive (and, you know, the day job...).

Finished something between a scarf and a shawl in Noro Kochoran last night (thank goodness, too, cuz it was almost death by bunnies with all the angora shedding) and with my new stitch dictionary and some tangy Opus 1 from Knit+Stitch=Bliss in Bethesda started a commissioned scarf that I will keep if it is not what the buyer had in mind.

Meanwhile, Chester is a little bit tired of this whole scarf thing...

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Knit Therefore I Do Not Blog

Missing the blogging - lots of little essays swirling, but I'm knitting like a frenzied... whirling dervish. Knit knit knit. Latest finished object and 2 more cast on since it was finished.
How's your holiday knitting going?

And here's a little present for someone special:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chptr 48: Introducing CYA (Cover Your Ass) Knitting

Indulge me for a few moments while I mourn the passing of what was, for many years, my reasonably firm, nicely proportionate rear end.

I don't have pictures of this ass of mine (or don't have any that I'm posting online, thankyouverymuch), but here is a picture of the front of me where I can assure you that the back of me looked pretty darn good, too.  (Blond wigs and martinis help.)  Lots of yoga, lots of walking. lots of biking: I was 38 in this picture.  I think I had actually gotten carded that year, and not by one of those places that cards everybody. 

So back to this post:

What's a former hottie to do when the days of the great ass are behind her?  (Yup, I'm not above going for the cheap laughs, folks; and I'll be here all week!) If she knits (helllllllllo gorgeous), then she starts knitting things for herself that cover that (s)ag(g)ing ass.

I think my first experience in realizing that I could cover my ass and still get attention (my poor mother: I think I came out of the womb screaming off-key and expecting a standing ovation from a packed house) was knitting the Colinette St. Ives jacket/coat/robe/large-cozy-thing.  It was a mad tear of knitting, one of the first projects that I had to knit on every second because 1) there was a lot of knitting involved, and 2) I was obsessed.

St. Ives Jacket
I knit this sucker up, wondered if I had the cohones to wear it to work, because after all - it resembled nothing more closely than an oversized bathrobe.  But when I was able to slip it on over a loose camisole and Chico's Travellers pants (the most comfortable pants you can ever wear in a professional setting - elastic waistband, non-clingy non-wrinkling non-picking up animal hair fabric) and realized my ass was covered and I did not have to wear Spanx, I was sold.

Now, I can't say I've worn this to board meetings (probably because I don't go to board meetings - hah!), but on a day when I have a lot of computer work to do and I I know I will be planted at my desk and need to be comfy, this jacket totally fits the bill.

Colinette has discontinued Tagliatelli, the yarn this is made from, which is a shame.  I don't know of any other merino tapes out there, and there is plenty of it available still.  Warning: this is one of those items that stretched way the heck out and ain't bouncing back.  If you tackle this, I'd do it knitting the item on much smaller needles than you think is sane.  (it's a one size pattern.)  I've worn it more than a dozen times and I would say that in those wearings, it's now about down to my knees, which I don't argue with as this is more of my rear view that I don't have to worry about exposing to the general public.

Work Jammies!

Ravelry link to this project.

Chester is enjoying his hiatus while I knit madly on holiday gift scarves.  I finished another one yesterday but don't have pictures yet.  I also got another big box of yarn-love from Nangellini - am in Noro heaven, I tell you.  AND I am going to be making a commissioned scarf this week!  Woo hoo!  I think I'm going to do the Inside Outside scarf pattern.  We'll see how it goes...

Happy clicking!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Adamant Knitter (or "A is for...")

This morning in the park.  And, yes, Chester knows he thought a typo.
Today I decided to work from home. Rainy day, boss in Japan, nightmare document to write (ok, I exaggerate: it is a document that has to please many masters and that takes a lot of fortitude), remote capabilities, why not?

But in order to have some stimulation, I hie me to the local Starbucks (and I mention them by name with no qualms because they offer health benefits to workers clocking more than 20 hours a week and have same-sex partner benefits). After assertively getting my coffee and spinach wrap ("are you sure someone put it in the oven? Not yet? Ok, I'll wait here for it" *stare fixedly at register worker until wrap is in my hands*), I wedge myself in the one remaining table available, and while the lighting sucks, it's by an outlet. Set up the laptop, put in my earplugs, get ready to prove that working remotely doubles my productivity, (especially because I was up at 5am finishing a Man Scarf and am therefore on a roll, baby) and... Outlook crashes.

scarf finished at 6.32am
Right now the little message box says my data file was not closed properly and is being checked for problems and that there are 12 hours remaining for the check. I'm not the only one who exaggerates, Microsoft does it too, because when I started this blog entry there were 34 hours remaining in the check.

Talk about wind outa my sails...

What to do but cast on?

But then I start thinking about this blog and how walking through the woods this morning, I wanted to start a list of knitter types or knitting moods in an alphabetical theme. Now, is could totally fall apart and lose momentum (like the great Colinette felting experiment: one entry to date), but as there are 7 hours left on my Outlook check, I shall commence.

A is for...

The Adamant Knitter. She whips out that knitting wherever, whenever. On public transportation she has no qualms about racing 15-year-olds with earbud blastomania to the last remaining seat on the subway car and playing dirty to get it.

The Angelic Knitter. He selflessly knits helmet liners and chemo caps, and can whip through pair after pair of mitten-top gloves for the homeless. He never gossips while doing this. The karma attached to his prayer shawls is pure.

Men in Knits: Sweaters to Knit That He Will WearThe Amorous Knitter. It's all about the boyfriend. Sweaters, socks, hats, scarves. Usually in the first year of the relationship, this is a phase that can sometimes extend into year two. Upon the breakup, she reclaims her needles by going through a very pink lace knitting phase.

The Apocolyptic Knitter. The sky is falling, the sky is falling. This sleeve is shaped all wrong and the decreases aren't matching up on both sides and somehow the pieces to seam - see how this side is an inch shorter than that side and how the heck did that happen and I hate this and I'm done and whoever wrote this pattern is getting an email from me, buddy, and... Oh, I had it pinned together upside down and backwards?

The Apologetic Knitter. "dear pattern-writer: I am so sorry that I flamed you on that knitting message board and called you all those names..."

Knitting For DummiesThe Apostolic Knitter. Don't ask her about her knitting or you will be learning to use your pens or pencils as needles along with whatever spare, ancient thread is in her bag - and this could even be dental floss. She is on a mission to convert the idle couch potatoes into scarf-producing (and therefore productive) members of society.

The Aloha Knitter. Love, love, love. He loves to knit and loves you and if you know him you may get an acrylic-yarn potholder (and an apologetic smile when it melts), a very long or very short scarf (depending on how much yarn is in the one skein he knows how to knit), and one sock with a promise of one that kinda matches sometime "soon".

The Admirable Knitter. She can slice, dice, steek (nerves of steel), do lacework, color work, belongs to three crafting guilds (knitters', crocheters and weavers) with a master rating from all three, spins her own yarn, can ferret out the best-grade wool in a sale bin, and comes with a set of Ginzu steak knives. But wait - there's more! She knows how to tenderly wash each fabric, the best blocking methods and tools, and can repair a puppy's enthusiastic demonstration of love on Mama's favorite poncho. (if you find her, send my way - I have a few handknit items with love bites that need attention.)

for myself, I mostly claim being an Adamant knitter. I knit everywhere anymore, with few apologies, and I live such a pure life these days that this is my song:

And, Alex, I'll take I KNIT for $6,000!

The attempt at interactive blogging yesterday didn't go so well, but feel free to chime in with your A-themed Knitters...


- Posted using BleogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chptr 45: A Late Report on a Sunday Morning

My Sunday morning knitting was the second of five Noro Striped Scarves.  At one point in the morning, Chester was sitting on the couch with nothing to do, so I made some suggestions.  The resulting look was captured in this pic, but I have no idea what he was trying to tell me.  Something about not having opposable thumbs?  I need help... so I'm turning it over to whomever wants to throw in a caption.  [Your narrator anticipating deafening silence which will be fine with Chester as it maintains that canine mystique.]

I did, in case anyone wondered, survive both Arundel Mills Mall and Ryan's 7th birthday party. 

Firstly, the approach to the mall was corporately sponsored:  Coca-Cola Lane.  Bass Pro-Shop Drive.  (I looked for Starbucks Street but I'm kinda relieved I didn't see one.)

Secondly, I think this was the only shopping mall I've been to that was built in the 1990s or thereabouts.  Themed ENTRANCES!  (We entered into the Egyptian Portal - as opposed to the Medieval Ingress - not sure if there are more but these two kinda blew my mind.)

Thirdly, there were trains (think Thomas) being driven through the mall by conductors and with little passengers who I think were actual children.  I'm not completely sure.  It was getting all Disney on me and they chugged by too fast for me to overcome my fear of being flattened by the Acela Express.

Fourthly (why did I do this as a list?  Not sure.  Oh well, continuing...), while there were no visible Mall Maps, we found the Lego store within five minutes of wandering and dodging golf-cart trains.  Got the right Advent calendar and a thematically-appropriate supporting item and got the heck out of Dodge.

Yikes.  Reason twelve-hundred-forty-one to shop Etsy this year.

The party was just fine.  I knitted during it and only had to take minimal flack from my family.  How bad could it be?  The birthday boy was polite and sweet and there were no high-pitched meltdowns. 

A few pictures from a typical Sunday morning:  Meredith working, Shasa chewing, Chester fill-in-the-blanking (as above), and Mac kinda watching it all:

Probably shouldn't have said "Code Monkey" but it's too late now to change the picture and sorry about the haziness, I'm still figuring out the sizing and pixeling and resizing and cropping and all that stuff...

Shasa loves her Elmo - he turns up in odd places, often in a Tim Burton-esque position.

Mac sees all and doesn't have a lot to say about it.  Which is probably just as well.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chptr 44: In Which I Finished a Scarf but Also Have to Go to Shopping Mall

60 hours in which I knit about 12 (the rest were wasted time)
Kinda digging this scarf which is the first of 5 I need to plow through in the next couple weeks so I can (stop reading if you're worried about my retirement and the Acura's alignment) order more yarn.  (This is the yarn I got from the lovely Nangellini.)

I'm going through a long-striping-repeat adoration phase.  Colinette's speckles and sprays of color will one day absorb me again, but right now it's all about the Silk Garden.

Where I knit on this scarf:
  • At a Starbucks on a mellow Wednesday night awaiting my sweet Em
  • In bed
  • On the Metro (red line)
  • In  meeting about implementing a company-wide purchase order system
  • At the Cosi on Dupont Circle in the sun on a spectacular warm November day
  • At a doctor's appointment
  • On the couch watching gratuitously pop-culture bad television (mostly CBS but also some NBC)
I have been accused of maybe hiding in the bathroom at work and knitting but, really, that has never even occurred to me.  I find it disconcerting when I'm in a public restroom and someone starts talking and it turns out they are ON THEIR CELLPHONE whilst doing... private... things.  Or, even more disturbing, whilst I am doing private things.

If you ever get a gift from me, yes, it may have been blocked on a floor, it may have traversed the DC area and picked up some interesting particles, and it may have been mashed in my purse or totebag (each of them a whole universe of mystery; I never know WHAT I'm going to pull out and some of what I pull out of them, I really don't remember ever putting IN them) - but never, oh never, will it have been in a bathroom.

Pinkie swear.

What are you knitting?  Post your blog links, especially if they are holiday gifts and if they are for BOYS.
LEGO Kingdoms Exclusive Set #7952 2010 Advent CalendarOops, almost forgot:  Speaking of boys, the requested gift for my soon-to-be-7-years-old nephew, Ryan, supposedly lives at a shopping mall 30+ miles away.  It's the KINGDOM (not the CITY) Lego advent calendar.  I do not like malls.  More and more as I get older and older.  Not sure why.  Maybe it's because all the STUFF is disturbing (says the woman with two or three bathtubs equivalent of yarn - seriously, I can't think of any other way to articulate how much yarn I have).  Oddly (or maybe not oddly) flea markets are disturbing as well.   Same stuff being sold, but on different ends of the "used" spectrum.  (And I need to state that the Amazon links I use on this blog (like the one to the left) are solely for illustrative purposes.  Easy and legal way to illustrate the things I am chatting about.)

But I digress from actually getting out of bed and getting ready for this visit to The Mall.  From which I may or may not recover.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Chptr 40-something (sound familiar?): While we're on a mad rant to knit scarves...

I got my Christmas present a couple days ago - yarn to knit for menfolk (yarn without much pink) - the boys at work are getting scarves this year.  And I owe one to Mr. Sedaris, can't forget that.  Ravelry member Nangellini beautifully packaged, card and little felt balls and tissue and all, the Noro Silk Garden for the man scarves I'm now knitting.  Obsessively.

Ravelry members are the most fun to order from - Ravelry member Marjut included Finnish chocolate for me (I now have a pining for the Geisha bar) with the Colinette mohair I will be tackling after holidays.  

I will definitely be visiting Nangellini when I hit Philadelphia next.  Meredith loves this mandala that is displayed on Nancy's site (check under the "fine arts" tab).  I am tempted to neglect these scarves to start knitting something lacy in the round, but I must stay focused... must stay focused...

Have recently been participating in an online discussion at the site KnitIdeas.com about left-handed vs. right-handed yarn holding (ostensibly English vs. Continental style, but there are so many variations on at least the Continental side of things).  It's an interesting discussion to participate it, and if you have any firm convictions one way or another please chime in!

I find my method of knitting (Russian-style, yarn in left hand but a different motion to pick up the yarn from Continental) so darn quick when it comes to rows with knitting and purling.  I can whip out a 1x1 rib so quickly, it'll blind you.  If I do say so myself.  Although this video is entitled "Russian Knitting in the Rounds," it actually demonstrates ribbing and shows how easily you go from knit to purl to knit to purl in the same row.  Watch this (not me) and imagine this happening a lot faster (me) and be amazed (not that I'm arrogant or anything).

Morning is breaking (sorry, have to do this, hit ME), and dogs need a-walking.  Here is a lovely blog about walks in Ireland (and knitting, of course) - makes me want to document my own local wilderness more closely inspired by Nikki's amazing pictures.

Happy clicking or hooking or spinning or weaving.  As my sweet Meredith would sign off:  Peace.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reason 1,000,001 Why I Love My Job (even though the first million reasons are not US dollars)

If you're a blocker, I soooooo know you're jealous.

(What is blocking?  Read this. Even if you're not a knitter, it'll educate you and it's a great article.)

I've reached that state of knitting prowess where I need to block.  Reasons:
  • I knit lace (or do lace knitting, cuz I'm still on the patterns that have purl row reprieves)
  • I LOVE shawls.  Love.  Love.  Love.  This will get its own blogposting or seven.
  • I repurpose yarn and do not 'refresh' it in any way except to wind it into super-tight yarnballs that probably bruise the fibers (shaken not stirred, anyone?)
  • I knit Russian, so my purl-sides can be crazy loose, especially if knit while watching thoroughly engrossing TV like Hawai'i Five-0 BBC's production of "Little Dorrit"
  • It makes me feel like an uber-knitter
BUT, unfortunately, I live in a 701 square foot condo with my stash and 2 dogs and a cat.  I like the condo, the size is actually good 'cuz it forces me to make those spiritual choices about stuff like my 80's cd collection (is it beautiful?  is it useful?  have you played it since 1993?  stuff it, I'm keeping it anyway.) and books and all that so when it comes to blocking, I've had to choose between having a bed and having space to block.  And, as much as I love knitting, ain't no one coming between me and my Stearns & Foster.  (Not even Chester.)

So, imagine my delight when I realized that my file room at work, which only a couple folks have access to, and I trust their feet to be clean, has a big ol' 7'x6' empty spot and the carpet is peppered in a grid pattern!

I am restraining myself from bringing my vacuum and steamer in.  For now, I just have my fan there.

Don't look, Xine, this is your scarf.
See how nicely this worked?  And since I forgot blocking pins, pushpins worked just fine.

Coming soon... binder clips and hair clips as shawl pins and repurposing office supplies for knitting notions.

Happy clicks!  And, happy birthday, Ma!  Love you and thank you for putting up with me when I was a chatty 7 year old, a squealing teenage girl, a mohawked riot grrrrrl, and a struggling young adult.  You are my rock.  (And, yes, I am soooo hoping this homage means you'll forgive me for forgetting to send a card.)


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"add the beads and I'm outta here"

Chester wanted shawl sans beading as his own blankie. Not pleased it's being beaded and gifted!

Beading beading beading

One side done-look how pretty! Totally worth it (keep telling myself that). But no more beads for awhile after this,,,

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chptr 40: Beading not Blogging

Just realized I have 3 days to finish beading the fringe on Vogue #05 Lacy Stole. Gifting mayhem descends. Beading is so pretty... So worth it... Telling myself that at 5 a.m. Wish furbabies had opposable thumbs and could make coffee. More later.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chptr 39: Knitting Kulture

Shasa in Snuggie.  Bad Kulture Alert!
I don’t know why I thought, when I first began knitting again, that I would be instantly elevated into some upper echelon of the cultural elite. Actually, I have to take that back. There are several reasons:
  • Knitters are smarter than the average bear. We just are. Meet me out back later if you want to fight about it.
  • Knitting = public television and public radio.
  • Knitting = books or famous lectures on tape/cd.
  • Knitting = classic design (argyle socks, fair isle cardigans, wedding ring shawls, fishermen sweaters).

My intentions were good, when I started knitting again. In fact, they were admirable. Not only was knitting going to make me more culturally literate, but I was going to save for my retirement and be all thrifty while expanding my mind.

This was my plan:
    Napoleon For Dummies
  1. Work on just one project at a time, from start to finish.
  2. Only buy the yarn needed for said project (and no overbuying the dye lot of 12 for extra 1 skein needed just because it’s on sale).
  3. Get all my patterns from books at the library.
  4. Knit listening to classic books on cd (checked out from library). Finally check out the lecture series on CD “The Influence of the Napoleonic Wars on the Global Economy after 2000 A.D.” and not fall asleep.
  5. …or, perhaps, knit listening to public radio.
  6. …or, as I was just going to have basic cable with NO EXTRAS, knit watching BBC America.

Napoleon Dynamite [Blu-ray]
More my speed
I don’t even need to tell you what happened to 1 and 2 above. If you’re reading this, you know. Only a knitter who has come through the Great Depression and has the self-discipline to only have used 3 squares of toilet paper at a time all her life (my aunt Annabell, for instance) or who can walk through Costco or Sam’s Club and get ONLY WHAT S/HE CAME IN FOR could possibly stick to items 1 and 2.

As for 3, well… library books are great. And this is where Ravelry is a blessing and a curse – sometimes the perfect pattern is in a book that is at the Austin, TX, public library (or at one in my county, but all copies are checked out), BUT it is available on Amazon used in Like New condition for 13.99 plus $20 overnight shipping for guaranteed delivery tomorrow if I order in the next 2 minutes… and, well, you and I both know how a knitter in the frenzied stages of planning for a new project, sitting at work with papers-papers-papers and email-email-email to deal with feels at 2:57pm, and that sometimes all one can do to get through until 5ish is push the “Submit Order” button.

And item 4. Ah, 4. When I started knitting again, I had this vision that I would listen to all the classic literature I never read before but which having not read was causing a gaping hole in my Cultural Literacy as measured by countless Facebook polls. I tried, Gentle Reader, I tried. I started with the “A” authors. I had read all of Austen and Atwood. “B”s it was.

Wuthering Heights (Import, All Regions)Aha. BrontÄ—. I’d read and loved Jane Eyre, so it was time to go with Wurthering Heights. I’d seen the movie, sort of, late at night in my teen years, probably hiding a hangover from my parents in the basement. Definitely a classic. So, I checked it out and brought it home and tried to knit by it and – don’t shoot – it was AWFUL. (At least when read aloud.) I only cared about the characters enough to want to bitch-slap most of them. Jane pining over Mr. Rochester had more sense. And as for the Napoleonic War lecture series, or its ilk, I see the dust on the case and lose all interest in the topic.

Church People: The Lutherans of Lake Wobegon (Prairie Home Companion)
My People (on mom's side)
Item 5.  Knitting while listening to public radio – I have done a lot of this. In fact for a year or so into my knitting adventures, my idea of the perfect Saturday night was a date with Garrison Keillor and friends and some pretty Colinette. But then the news comes on. No matter how dulcet her tones, Lakshmi Singh does not always have soothing news to impart. And it’s Saturday night and I want an escape…

A Bit of Fry and Laurie - The Complete Collection... Every Bit!Finally, item 6:  here is the problem I encountered about knitting while watching BBC series: I have to really watch to keep all the characters in “Little Dorrit” straight. “Prime Suspect” can totally distract me from my row count. “Hercule Poirot” and “Jeeves & Wooster” have so much physical comedy that one blink and a clever chuckle is gone forever.

And, so, last night, Saturday night, while Garrison was somewhere warbling about the first drifts of snow to hit Minnesota this year, and Miss Marple was poking around some shire or other for whodunit, and many many classic books on tape were collecting more dust motes in libraries near and far, I was watching “Hawaii Five-0” and “Bluebloods” and “Law and Order: LA” and "The Good Wife" and "Parenthood" using On Demand (“love”). I was knitting a fairly easy lace pattern and don’t think I made any mistakes.

Daniel Dae Kim & Grace Park autographed Hawaii Five-O poster
Yeah, she did.
I comfort myself because it's nice to know FOR SURE that Grace Park is not a Cylon.  And I can't figure out why any sane man (are you listening, Tom Brady?) would leave Bridget Moynihan, for anyone else, period, amen. And Alan Cumming and Archie Punjabi are the best supporting actors in a TV series, ever.  And Peter Krause and Lauren Graham (a local girl) might actually be dating (shades of Dexter).

And Albert Molina has won Royal Television Society awards.  Which has to count for something.


*As always, apologies to crocheters, weavers, spinners, tatters, yarnies of all persuasions –all who I am addressing under the large, 2-needled umbrella of “knitting”. I know you are out there and until we have a recognized way of acknowledging your presence, thanks for being willing to be id’d as “knitters”.