I was really grumpy earlier this morning (school related thing, not worth talking about), but the weather has gone a long way towards cheering me up.
And the whole reason I wrote my previous post was to post this Elizabeth Zimmerman quote from the SnB daily calendar.
"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit. And it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit, either."
I set aside all other knitting this weekend in an attempt to get back to working on my Cardigan for Arwen. I'm happy to report lots of progress, including finally starting on the first sleeve. The front is knit in two panels (left and right) and each panel includes the sleeve and half the hood. I followed advice from the Arwen KAL on how to increase the width of the sleeve at the shoulder. The pattern is a little odd in that the upper arm and wrist width is identical regardless of what size you're making. I don't have any problems with the wrist size, but I think the upper arm would be a little tight for me. I'm glad that I spent all that time doing short rows in the last week on the Oktoberfest sock because the sleeve is all about short rows! To increase the upper arm width, you basically add in some extra short rows. Hopefully this works! I can't believe I'm making mods to the first sweater I've ever knit. I probably should have picked a different (ie easier) pattern for my first sweater, but I really love this one and it's not like there's a ton of reasons to wear sweaters here in Nashville.
I'm looking forward to getting back to the Oktoberfest sock. I just needed a break after ripping out the cuff - a little bit of distance from the project :) I'm definitely going to follow Christa's excellent advice from the comments - thanks!
I also did a little bit of sock yarn swatching this weekend. I bought two skeins of Trekking sock yarn at Knitch when we were in Atlanta. The first skein is Trekking XXL and the second is Trekking Pro Natura (75% wool, 25% bamboo). I typically end up knitting socks on #1 needles, but I thought I'd do swatches on both #1s and #2s this time. I even went the final step and washed and blocked the swatches, which I never do. No big surprise - I definitely need to use #1 needles for both types of yarn. The swatches are _gorgeous_ though and make me want to cast on immediately. I'm trying to stick with my #1 sock rule: finish a pair of socks before casting on a new pair... but I'm not sure how long I can hold out.
And my yarn diet didn't last. Tim and I were running errands on Saturday and ended up near the Haus of Yarn, so we stopped in. I haven't been there for quite a while and I think their selection has really increased since the last time I stopped in. I ended up buying three skeins of Malabrigo lace weight. I had no idea Malabrigo made lace weight!!! It's soooo soft. I'm thinking about knitting either the Icarus shawl from IK or this shawl from MimKnits (omg, if you haven't been to her site, you have to check out her patterns - she has some awesome looking free sock patterns as well as lace shawl patterns to purchase). At the checkout counter, they had a store model for some cool cabeled mitts made in Classic Elite Lush (50% Angora, 50% wool). They were so soft and so cute that once I tried them on, it was a done deal. I was angling after some light teal Lush, but Tim talked me in to a dark pink color which actually looks fab with all of my various teal, blue, grey, and purple coats.
I want to learn how to program in Ruby on Rails, so I'm thinking about putting together a database app to track the yarn I have, the patterns I want to make, and that kind of thing. I could probably program something a bit more, you know, school related but I think this will create something I'll actually end up using.
Judith took him to the vet on Friday and it turns out he's got demodectic mange. People and other animals can't catch this version of mange, it's some kind of autoimmune reaction (as far as I can figure out). With treatment, he should be fine. The best news is that the puppy has hopefully found a permanent home. Tim interviewed the potential new owner and then Judith and I met him to introduce him to the puppy on Friday. On Saturday, we met up with him and handed the puppy over. The puppy's new name is Bandit, which seems just about right!
Sorry for the pathetic lack of pictures lately. I'll try to take some tonight!
I should have pictures of a single finished Oktoberfest sock to show off tonight but I messed up the bind off so horribly that I ended up ripping out the entire top section of the sock. That's right. I mastered the toe up sock concept. I managed the difficult and a little confusing wheat lace pattern on the ankle part of the sock. I even figured out the "frothy" rib section at the cuff. And then I messed up the bind off. Not only that, but I messed it up, wove in all the ends, and only then tried the sock on, which is when I discovered that it was way too tight on my calf. I thought it was weird, Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind off is supposed to be so stretchy. Then I realized the mistake.
Kitchener stitch is NOT the same as the sewing bind off. I know, I know. Of course it's not, that's ridiculous. You use kitchener stitch to seam together two live sets of stitches, on sock toes for example. Who would ever think to use that as a bind off? HOW would you use it as a bind off???
I think my brain seriously short-circuited on this one. I thought: socks, sewing... this is the right thing! And so now I ripped out the entire white cuff section and am starting the cuff from scratch. Gah.
On better news, a brief puppy update:
Our friends Judith and Phil agreed to be foster parents to the puppy. They have a larger yard, two dogs, and a really nice set up for dogs overall. I could never foster a pet, I just get too attached. I was starting to think of a way how we could keep the puppy - we don't have room, it would drive Oscar over the edge, and we're just too busy right now to have a young puppy. A guy called today who is interested in adopting the puppy (now named Widget) and Judith is going to take him to her vet tomorrow for a quick health check before moving forward with that.
While we were out walking Oscar this morning, we found a small puppy that someone dumped in our neighborhood. We're still trying to find a no-kill shelter that will take him, but if you or someone you know happens to be thinking about getting a puppy, please let me know.
He's very cute (and very scared). I think he's going to be a friendly little guy in the end. He weighs about 10 pounds now and is about the same size as Oscar, but he's clearly going to grow. Here's a picture:
I have this bad habit, both in knitting and at school. I start a million projects, get overwhelmed by the possibilities, and then end up starting a completely different but smaller in scale project to work on instead of the million existing projects.
On the needles at this moment, I have:
* Oktoberfest socks: at the heel on the first sock and the instructions on turning the heel are really bad. Like, so bad that it's basically like having no instructions. Since this is my first toe-up sock, it would be nice to have a bit more guidance :) Anyway, I know there are instructions out there on turning a heel on a toe-up sock, I just need to look it up.
* Argosy scarf: I can't seem to get over my sheer dislike for the yarn I'm using (Elsebeth Lavold silky tweed). Knits up quite nicely in the pattern, but a bit unpleasant to work with. I just need to get over it and finish. Still trying to decide if I should rip back all the way to the spot where I missed an increase for a few rows, but I'm not positive that it really creates a problem. I blame Inspector Morse for the error, because there was a particularly intriguing twist in the show at the point where the error happened.
* Beaufort hat (again): I'm on this train that I can't seem to get off where I continuously have 3/4 of a skein of Cascade Cash Vero left when I wrap up a project. Then I cast on a new project and (surprise!) I run out of yarn so I need to buy another skein. Or, more correctly, I beg Tim to stop off on his way home and pick up another skein. Plus, this pattern is addictive.
* Sheldon the turtle x 2: Making these for a friend who just had twins. Gar, I hate the fiddley bits. I think I have one more body, four more legs, and two lower shell bits to knit. Then it's sewing all together (ugh). They do look super cute so far though, that's keeping me going.
* Cardigan for Arwen: I swear, when I took a break from Arwen in mid/late January because I needed some time off from the cabling, I didn't mean for it to last this long!!! I should try to get back to this this weekend.
* Pink shawl (from the last post): Not really on the needles anymore, but still in need of a bit of finishing. I did manage to trim the hem on the silk chiffon so it no longer looks like an insane person took a sewing machine to it in random ways but I still have to decide if I want to sew the tiny beads on. Oh, and I did not wear it for our Valentine's dinner because it was like 15 degrees out. I'm not inclined to wear dresses anyway, and getting me to wear a dress when it was that cold out... not gonna happen. I did briefly consider wearing it with the heavy sweater I had on but decided it really really really needed to be worn with a dress.
The question is... did I work on any of these projects when I had free time last night while Tim was off playing board games? Of course I didn't!
Instead, I cast on for the Luxe Neck Warmer from Knit2Together. I have four (yes, FOUR - 2 skeins of 2 different colorways) skeins of Fiesta Lusso (100% Cashmere) that have been sitting around every since the 50% off sale at Threaded Bliss back in September (? October? When was it?) led me astray. It's just a simple feather and fan pattern knit in the round. The book describes it as a one-night project, but I had a bunch of gauge problems (#10 needles = bad with this yarn, they needed #11's) and so I ripped it out at least twice after getting 2+ inches in. I'm about half way done, should finish it shortly. I have no idea how I talked myself into buying this yarn, even at 50% off it was still way outside my budget. It is beautiful yarn - both in the color and in the feel of it.
In other yarn related news, I got my first email yesterday from the Blue Moon Fibers Rockin' Sock Club. The February kit should be shipping sometime in the near future. I can't wait to see what they send!!!
And in a final bit of yarn news, I'm trying halfheartedly to knit from my stash. The main problem that I have (in addition to having some kind of yarn shopping addiction) is that many of the yarns that I bought when I first started knitting just don't lend themselves to actually becoming anything other than scarves. Since I've moved on from the whole simple scarf concept, it's challenging trying to figure out how to use them. I suppose that can be part of the fun though, I just need to work on it a bit more.
Don't even ask about the school projects. My to-do list has become so alarmingly long that I instinctively jumped into this huge project yesterday that is completely unrelated to the 6000 other things I need to be working on. My advisor is on vacation this week, which means he'll be expecting big accomplishments from me next week. Heh. Plus I'm meeting with faculty and others to chat about "what Kim should do for her PhD project". The main advice I have so far, repeatedly, is to choose something that is my passion, that I really want to do. This process (of deciding on a direction and a project) really makes me yearn for last fall, when I was working 18+ hour days attempting to finish my thesis. That was actually less stressful :)
I needed something to fill in my "about me" section and I've seen a lot of people do this. So, presenting...
100 Things about Kim
1. I'm the youngest of 9 kids.
2. My natural hair color is brown.
3. I got bored of brown, so now it is reddish purple.
4. I like Mac computers.
5. I got a Master's degree in Biomedical Informatics in December 2006.
6. Despite doing technical stuff, I don't really like computers that much.
7. I drive a light teal VW Beetle convertible.
8. I really like living in Nashville.
9. I'll try any craft once.
10. I belonged to 4-H from first or second grade all the way through high school graduation.
11. I never showed any cows or farm animals as part of 4-H.
12. Most of my 4-H activities were craft related.
13. I learned how to do macrame and also leatherwork when I was a kid from my next door neighbor, cousin, and 4-H leader Agnes.
14. I did not grow up on a farm, but there were farms all around us.
15. I live in the city now.
16. I love my neighborhood.
17. I have two cats, Maggie and Necco.
18. I have one dog, Oscar.
19. Secretly, I think I'm more of a dog person than a cat person.
20. I like gardening.
21. I believe in family farming.
22. I believe in eating locally.
23. Belonging to a CSA was one of the best parts of 2006 for me.
24. I like the challenge of cooking new things.
25. I hate leftovers.
26. I once swore off hot dogs (after reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair in high school).
27. I don't think I could ever be a vegetarian.
28. Fresh eggs are exquisitely delicious.
29. My favorite color is, and always has been, purple.
30. When I was growing up, my room was painted purple. When it was snowy outside, the whole world looked this strange purple-grey color from in my room.
31. When I was a kid, I had a box filled with clippings of pictures from magazines, no particular theme.
32. I think picnics are magical.
33. I love drive in movies.
34. I always wanted to go to graduate school.
35. I'd like to lose weight.
36. When you have 8 siblings, you can have favorites (but I won't tell you who mine are).
37. I love our house, it is perfect for me.
38. When it was rainy out when I was growing up, I would have picnics inside the house. I would close the curtains and turn the lights on and pretend I was outside.
39. My mom died when I was 9.
40. I miss her a lot.
41. Many people who know me don't know that, because I don't talk about her.
42. I'm especially sad/angry about the little things I never got to learn from her, like how to sew or cook or can vegetables or even how to make dolls out of corn husks (which she was really good at).
43. I grew up in Wisconsin.
44. I often threw up on the school bus.
45. I was on the bus for an hour or more on the way to school most years.
46. I went to Marquette University in Milwaukee for my undergraduate degree.
47. I studied Biomedical Engineering.
48. And German.
49. And Electrical Engineering.
50. I think I have eclectic taste.
51. I thought I'd hate taking religion and philosophy classes at Marquette.
52. I loved them.
53. I worked for Abbott Laboratories for several years.
54. The day I quit was one of the happiest days of my life.
55. Nuclear power scares me.
56. I voted for Jimmy Carter in the 2nd grade mock election in 1980.
57. I lived in Dallas for several years.
58. I was very happy to leave Texas.
59. I lived in the same house for almost 20 years when I was growing up.
60. I used to think it would be cool to go down the laundry shoot between the first and second floors of our house.
61. When I was probably 7 years old, I did it.
62. It wasn't fun.
63. I didn't get seriously hurt though.
64. I once got a concussion from a baton.
65. I was twirling it on my feet.
66. I got bit by a german shepherd when I was in first grade.
67. I'm scared of big dogs - surprise!
68. A girl in gym class in high school broke my leg while we were playing some alternate version of soccer.
69. The gym teacher told me it was a charley horse and made me walk to the school office myself.
70. I broke my wrist playing volleyball while I was working at a VA hospital.
71. A co-worker named George collided with me and I fell, landing on my wrist.
72. I'm not very sporty - surprise again!
73. When I was in kindergarten (or first grade?), my parents made me take gymnastics and baton to increase my coordination.
74. It didn't work.
75. I love reading about history.
76. I love reading in general.
77. I took a 60% cut in pay to come back to school.
78. It was totally worth it though.
79. My thesis defense was the best presentation I've ever given in my life.
80. I'm shy.
81. On the Myers-Briggs test, I scored an INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, judging).
82. It actually describes me fairly well.
83. My high school's mascots were the Fighting Owls.
84. I love traveling.
85. I love coming home from trips too.
86. I'm insanely in love with museums.
87. Especially museums in Europe.
88. I like hiking and camping.
89. I have been through severe thunderstorms, freezing temperatures, and all around bad weather in a tent.
90. I'm proud of that.
91. My favorite state is New Mexico, but I don't think I want to live there.
92. I have problems with procrastination.
93. I wish I could find someplace decent in Nashville to get a pedicure.
94. I love Birkenstock sandals.
95. I'm as liberal as liberal gets.
96. I worked as a poll worker for the 2004 election. I was an Assistant Registrar, which meant I checked names against the registration lists.
97. I think everyone should do that at least once, to participate in the democratic process.
98. My husband is my best friend.
99. Half the reason I like traveling is because he's such a great travel companion.
100. A friend of mine set the two of us up, and I'll always be grateful to her for that.