Tuesday, February 28, 2006

You probably already knew this:
Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

sigh. sigh. I knew it. sigh.

Well, on the plus side, I seem to be perfectly capable of inspiring fear in others when the situation calls for it (note to self: "situation calling for it" not a thing most people would consider an option) (also this difficult to explain as a plus to non-evil, non-crazed weasels).

So let's change the subject, shall we? Of course we shall.
I am joining the sewing-a-skirt sew-along, which is here and hey, I have some lovely fabric stashed. Er, rather a lot of fabric, actually. Well, no, there's far more yarn. So that's good, right? Of course it is. I do need a nice skirt to wear as I swoop on unsuspecting victims. Tra la.

I also joined the Spring Forward KAL, which is here.

I have not yet put either of these buttons in the sidebar, as I am presently too deeply freaked out to cope with my template. I am of course continuing to plug away (when not in full frontal freakout) at the leaf cardigan and Hardangervidda, which I will not show you, as they look almost exactly the same as they did last time. And yes, that's a lot of knitting I'm lining up for myself. But I relish a challenge--better still, a really difficult one that will make me miserable. I can hardly wait. Grumperina's blog name is one of those things I read and think, oh yes! that is sooo meee! I am content in my crazed weaselhood, however, at least when the crazed part is less, uh, crazed.

We can now illustrate what we mean by this:

Image copyright 2006 C. Adams. Touch it and I send my weasel brethren out to get you. Thank you, dear. You are a wonder and a treasure.

The decorating project has now officially driven me over the edge. I am beyond freaking out and inhabiting some nether world where every move costs an additional thousand dollars. Yes, even the moves where I try to rein things in. As ever, I wish I were kidding. I really do. (another note to self: nether world = underworld. As in hell. Hm. Yes, that is what I mean.)

Would you like to see what an absurdly expensive dining room table looks like? It's really nice. It arrived today. I'm told it weighs 500 pounds. Imagine. Well, no, you don't have to. Here it is:

Absurd means...well, guess. Closest guess by next Wednesday wins yarn.

Team Boston's closing ceremonies party was a delight. My warmest thanks to Cara and the rest of the wonderful crew of intrepid teammates I met there--Anne, Sarah, Carole (thanks! hi, back at you!), Kathy, Hello Yarn, and on and on it went - what incredible, fascinating women! what incredible, fascinating knitting!

Now I want to go peruse sock yarn. You ladies have that effect, you know.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Has it really been that long since my last post? How did that happen?

Oh, maybe the crazed knitting and posting on a whole bunch of email lists, that could be it. Oh, that. Oh.

Okay. I am not much further along on the leaf cardigan, but I am done with the stripey commissioned piece. So I am not anywhere near medaling in the Knitting Olympics. I am, however, really happy about how far I've gotten, and actually getting the paid work done, and it's been wicked fun. I think I'm actually gonna make it to the party with Team Boston--whoo! I'm in a groove with the stitch pattern on the leaf cardigan when I do get a chance to work on it (which I probably should do now instead of posting, but so what).

The technical term for this is bailing. But, oh, how spectacular is my wipe-out! I am the Sasha Cohen, falling-on-her-butt Olympic Knitter! I am so, so toast. It's okay, but wow, what a wipe-out.

Thanks, Kat and everybody. Lucia asked, so The Artist's Way is a book version of a creativity workshop. It's set up really nicely, with each chapter covering a week, and specific, useful things to do that (surprise!) are actually helpful. I'm enjoying the process. This is a kind of process I can cope with. Knitting as process, not so much.

Back to all the stuff - the way, way too large pile of stuff.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Grinding on.
Well, I have at last learned how to tell the dark green leaf yarn from the slightly lighter background yarn on the Olympic project (can you? honestly, can you?) (well, this isn't a fair comparison, it's a picture taken in daylight) (and oh, crap, those stitches are coming off! damn!) but haven't gotten much done on it. I like how the wrong side of the knitting shows the leaf in reverse - unexpected, and way fun. Thanks, Theresa and abs; I love how it looks, too. This is possibly why I have not set fire to it. Yet. (The yarn came in a kit from Sommerfuglen.) (they were great) (NAYY)

I have, however, made a huge amount of progress on the stripey commission that's due Friday. And slacked off pretty much everything else, and been sort of (ok, a lot) crabby to everybody. Sorry, everybody. And thanks, Brooklyn Tweed (and Kathleen), but I still think the hat looks spectacularly bad on me. It is also much larger than it looks. Ah, well. The middle child, though, she thinks this gigunda hat is COOL. So it's now hers.

Knitting in Public at Borders was fun! Come on by week after next, people! Next week, the people of knitting, they gather at the Panera in North Nashua, the one which is too frigging far for me to quite make it to. But go, go knit, you knitters, you. Actually almost all my progress on the leaf cardigan was at knitting Sunday. Yesterday, I sat and grumped. Mostly about the lack of MEN'S figure skating on NBC. Middle child: "do they have men's figure skating, mom?" Me: "@)#*($#$*#(* ROAR @(#*$(#*$ROAR"

Well, that was what I was thinking. What I said was, "Yes, and the men are incredible skaters. But we don't get to see them." Insert rant of choice: topics available include stupid NBC, American media generally, American blindness to non-American achievement, or the Bush administration. Because you can always rant about the Bush administration.

For those wondering, Ruth had issues with her Olympic knitting. I merely pointed out another small, fixable mistake in a section of knitting that she was already going to be fixing. I swear. She isn't really going to kill me.

I've been working on The Artist's Way, by Julie Cameron, and the one and so far only exercise I've managed to do is these 3 longhand daily morning pages of brain dump. And dagnabbit, it's doing something. It is utterly freaky. I looked through the chapter for the fourth week, and she writes, have you noticed the thing that happens when you get to 1 1/2 pages yet? And I have! How weird! She also writes, you may start remembering a lot more vivid dreams. And I had been, and still am. This is preparation for going on a weekend workshop that Donna pushed me to sign up for, and I'm so grateful that she did.

Other total non-sequiturs: the wallpaper saga continues. I don't want to talk about it. But I'm now in my 8th week of workmen in my house, and it is getting old.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What I Did While the US Men's Hockey Team Was Losing to Slovakia
Yes, they did score one goal, and I don't even like hockey all that much, but everybody played it either on ice or as street hockey when I was a kid growing up. So I feel obliged to at least pay attention.

The Olympic project is progressing slowly, since I'm not devoting all available time to it. I'm now in the green-on-green section, which I've already miscounted once (8 then 3 then 7 then 1...oops. That kind of miscounting. The Weasel gives thanks that this was only 5 leaves from the end of the round, rather than at the very beginning.). The other picture, which resembles perhaps a highly ineffective gunny sack, is the February Almanac-a-long project. (psst - it's a shawl) (which you can't tell by looking at it) I've put in a row of yo, k2tog, and knit a few rows beyond that. For some reason I was surprised that even when I don't want that to be a picot turning row, the knitting seems to think that's where its destiny lies. So there are these funny pointy bumps. Funny-strange, or depending on your point of view, funny-ha-ha.

I am so, so thrilled to hear from you, dear reader(s); thank you, thank you, thank you. Comments are what make blogging fun. So thank you, Ruth (and I apologize about the cable crossover, but you know it's for the best), Lucia (see you tomorrow at Borders?)--about a thousand thanks, both of you. You know why. And blogsters Annie, dragon knitter, Erica - thank you so, so much for your encouragement and kind words - I think there's a hefty percentage of Team Boston that has overestimated how fast we'd be able to knit for this. Dragon, 3 mmm is US size 2. Yes, two. I'm effectively making a sock large enough for Thor. Thank you to Sarah for sympathy on the house saga, to sep and Kathleen and Annie and Ann, Brooklyn Tweed (the hat looks ridiculous on, the fit absolutely blows). Oh, yeah! A picture of it on a head! Well, you asked for it:

And jerry&maxy. And everybody. Thank you.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Well, our story so far:
The Olympic Knitting is going, but not as fast as it would need to in order to really finish this thing on time. I really like how it looks so far. Don't you? Isn't it simply spiffing?

The bottom will be a hemmed picot edge. The leaf repeat is beginning to settle in my head - I keep switching technique as the chart line varies, sometimes one color in each hand, sometimes picking both off my left finger.

Um, the speed of "one leaf band per day" is NOT how fast I'm progressing. At least not so far. It's more like 75% of a leaf band, and that's if I do almost nothing else all day. Have I mentioned that this is 333 stitches around on a 3 mm needle? I didn't? Well, it is. actually I messed up the caston a little bit and it's really 334 sts around, but hey, extra cutting stitches never hurt nobody.

I'm going to have to slack off this and get more work done on the Actual Paying Knitting Work. There are two things (well, two and a half, now, since I'm now also writing a pattern), and they need more doing.

Watching the Olympics and doing this Knitting Olympic Challenge is wicked fun. Apart from the sore right wrist. I see Norwegian skiers and think, Hey! I bet Bagatell is loving this! Or I'll see the Canadians and think of Harlot. And who knew there even was a US women's hockey team? and that apparently a whole bunch of the team is from the Boston area? How cool is that? (It's not like women's hockey has a lot of support around here, folks; it's definitely more a guy thing) (which makes these scrappy women even more amazing, IMHO) I'm now rooting for strong local women, playing Hockey, and pointing out to my daughters, see? she's from a couple of towns away, and look! isn't that amazing?!?!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

And they're off...
Knitting Olympics are underway! I'm loving this pattern. I mean, this is fantastic. It's a regular repeat, long bits of one color or the other, stripes of all one color from time to time - what's not to love? And--bonus!--almost no ends to weave in! because it's steeked and has a wide velvet ribbon sewn over the steeked edges, totally enclosing them. So all I have to worry about is the armholes. I've worked out that if I can get a band of leaf repeat done every day, I'll have four days left over to do the finishing (with fiddly sewing bits and everything). I am so pumped. It's a little bit silly. Ok, it's a lot silly. My lovely, wonderful WIP is looking like this so far:

It's a good day to sit and knit. I was going to go hang out with Ruth this afternoon, but, er, outside, it's looking like this:

So maybe I'll just stay here by the fire. And knit. A lot.

Now, the Yarn Harlot admonishes all Knitathletes to take part in normal life (whatever that is) while this supreme challenge is underway. I slacked off knitting last night to go see this production at ART -

The capsule review, for those of you who are interested, is thusly and so: B minus. Interesting set, and bonus goodwill for managing it without looking forced and ridiculous like most other non-proscenium settings usually look. Tommy Derrah was perfection itself as Friar Lawrence, as is usual for him. Alas, other members of the company had trouble understanding the meaning of their own lines from time to time, and it made things rather hard going, even for someone who knows the text well (I can only imagine how lost other audience members must have been). Remo Airaldi, surprising fun as a servant; a stuttering, limping Prince? hello? what on earth was the director thinking?? god's teeth! Mercutio - fine; Lord Capulet (Will LeBow) - his usual excellent work, once he was in a scene where he had more than two words to say; Lady Capulet - bizarre (straddling dead Tibault? do we really need to see this, people?)(and, um, shouldn't her husband react to this somehow?), and the poor woman had a wardrobe malfunction, to boot (yes, Virginia, there are nipples on other women besides Janet Jackson). Now, our Romeo was cute, and Juliet was pretty, but honestly, their moments of greatest intimacy are not, in my opinion, supposed to be a shouting match. "It was the LARK!" he bellows angrily, stomping. "It was the NIGHTINGALE!" shouts she, pouting. Et cetera. Blech. It's hard to tell whether the director was uncomfortable letting them have a moment of tenderness in bed (they were fully dressed and without any blankets). We were on more certain ground with kissing. Romeo had a sweet moment on his Juliet's third trip up and down a ladder (don't ask) where he looked in love and charmed and wishing she'd stay put so he could kiss her. And he had another lovely moment upon finding Juliet in her tomb, where FOR ONCE he modulated the level of his voice, and it was a small touch of beauty. This is one of those productions where they get a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong, and it's perfectly maddening because the wrong things could so easily have been so much better. Yes, Romeo's an adolescent, and this fellow got the physicality absolutely right for that; well done. And yes, Juliet's an adolescent, too, and a tantrum or two is perhaps in order. But both of these characters also have moments where their love takes them beyond themselves, and they're poetic and gentle and mature beyond their experience. Those are some of the best parts of the play, indeed in the English language. And we lost most of them in favor of teenage grumpiness.

Yeah, yeah, I'll shut up about that now.

A brief moment of triumph - the lacy socks are done! Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color Tahoe, pattern by Evelyn Clark in Spring 2004 IK.

And yes, the second one is still a slightly different size from the first one. Also I knit too many lace repeats. Also I think the toe decreases start at different points. But I don't care! They're done and I'm wearing them. So there. And I will never, ever, ever, ever again make socks without doing them both at once on two circs.

DH's beautiful sweater that has been in progress since October is looking like this:

This is the same Hardangervidda that the Harlot is assaying for her Olympic Project. The long bit of stockinette is pretty boring going, and you find yourself eagerly anticipating the fun fair isle section, and then...well, then you're in it. And it never repeats exactly the way you expect it to. You'll be going along happily, thinking oh sure, 4 dark gray and 3 light gray then 1 and 1 and 1 then 3 and 4 again, lalala, don't I love fair isle, then...you look at the chart again and find you've screwed up. I have done enough tinking of this pattern to have finished the damn thing weeks ago, but NO, I will make this sweater CORRECTLY and therefore my tension is all blown to hell but dammitall, those colors are CORRECT.

On the whole, I'm really glad I'm working on the leaf cardigan. Lalala, I love fair isle.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Olympic jitters
Well, the Knitting Olympics start tomorrow. I am not ready. I thought, oh, I'll just finish this 1) pair of socks 2) commissioned piece 3) Dale for dh 4) oh god/oh yay I sold a design I have to do that, too 5) let's start a shawl for restful knitting to take a break from the totally CRAZED WEASEL knitting that I seem to be doing.

I'm not panicking. I'm really not. But I'm not, comme un dire, "relaxed." And I'm quite sure my French is misspelled, but I don't care. I mean I don't care very much.


No idea if I'm going to make it to Jamaica Plain for the Team Boston get-together, which is sad. In fact I'm pretty sure I won't. Ack.

The house project so far is now freaking me out slightly less. The walls have some stuff on them that is not brown. The house is completely full of tables and workers and on the whole, I'm glad we're at the homeschooling coop today (and yesterday). I have given my cell phone up for lost and purchased a new one, so I can now be contacted again.

Tuesday was...well. Tuesday started with telling off painters and spending lots of time discussing what I was displeased with (like the plaster dust and the brown and and and). This took several hours that, frankly, I did not have to spare. So I spent the rest of the day and a lot of yesterday frantically trying to catch up and get sorted in my tiny little mind what things needed to happen when.

In short, I freaked out again. I'm better now.

Except for this Olympics thing, of course. But that's a more tangible and finite thing than many (most!) of my other obligations, with the bonus that I really, really want to do it.

So there.

Hang in there, all. I will be, too.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In a fit of frustration last night, I started the baby shawl from the February chapter. As Franklin already mentioned, the beginning is tricky. I of course was doing this after midnight, thus not having the recommended good light and rather deficient in calm, too, but it was okay on the third try or so. The flummoxing bit was figuring out exactly what the Emily Ocker beginning was really supposed to be. I happily chained a few stitches and sat there, puzzling over how that was going to get me more than one stitch. Puzzled and puzzed til my puzzler was sore. But I eventually got it. You make that first loop, crochet through it, then keep going back into that loop to make the new stitches. OH. The light, she dawns slowly. Then I cheerfully k1, yo, all over the place rather than just once per needle. Hm. This gives me way more than 24 stitches. Hm...so now I think I've got it. I even have a circular ready as soon as the knitting on the dpns gets big enough.

Now I'm already antsy to stick lace patterning in this thing. Looky, looky!

Yet another KAL
Yes, this is getting ridiculous. But I swear, your honor, I won't even look at yarn for it until after the Olympics, really!

This is for Janet Szabo's beautiful Spring Forward design, and I'm looking forward to it in a not-as-crazed-as-usual way. Which is a good thing. I'm thinking Rowan All Season Cotton on this puppy.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Holy madre de dios.
Remember the sock that was so tight that I had to frog it? How that was because I was so freaked out about the decorating project going on, complete with the most expensive wallpaper known to civilized man? I'm freaking out again. Here's how things look (please note: brown painted walls are completely and utterly not the plan) (see previously referenced wallpaper). The grayishness on the light fixture? Plaster dust. Which is coating almost everything. The plastic covering the door was placed after the plaster dust went everywhere. Nice, huh? Bonus which I only saw after loading the picture is the plaster handprint on the lovely hardwood railing. Those paint chips on the stairs? They're stuck in place. One discovers when one attempts to brush away said paint chips that they are, in fact, cemented to the lovely hardwood stairs.

Oh, yes, we do have water in the basement, and the dishwasher still isn't working properly and the icemaker's still broken and occasionally leaking water all over the kitchen floor, but, hey, dh is no longer vomiting. Even so, I am (perhaps surprisingly) having trouble counting my blessings, here.

Deep breath, and repeat to self: It will be beautiful when it's all done. It will be beautiful when it's all done. It will be beautiful when it's all done. Hm. I think the intensity detracts from the intended calming effect, here.

On the plus side, freaked out makes for very, um, efficient knitting. So I'm coming along nicely with the three main projects on needles. Time to cast on that shawl, taking care to bear in mind Franklin's admonition about the fiddly-ness of the beginning bit.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Looking around on the web
I seem to be tinkering with this blog almost as much as I knit lately. I'm poking around and looking at things, adding stuff as you might notice (all two of you reading this, that is). I followed a link from brainylady to this site, which I'm of course late in finding as ever but, whoa, it's great fun. If fun is the word for anti-perkiness and crafty creating things that one would only see in a special hellhound issue of Knitters. Deadline for the next edition is March 6, dudes, so we'll see what comes.

February Almanac
The February chapter is all about baby stuff. I've been re-reading this, while procrastinating of course, and at the risk of appearing to be hopelessly following Franklin in nearly all things, I think I'm doing a shawl. There's this cone of yarn in the stash that simply cries out to be a traditional, no-nonsense shawl. Doesn't it? Of course it does. I might go cast on right now.

And something you probably don't need to know about me...we like Marmite. A lot. This much:

Bet you never dreamed it came in 3kg tubs, didya?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ruth tagged me with the Friday Four Things meme, so here we go:

Four jobs you've had in your life:
1. Actress
2. Mailing list brokerage assistant
3. Knitting teacher
4. Chambermaid

Four movies you could watch over and over again:
1. Sliding Doors
2. The English Patient
3. Gosford Park
4. Lord of the Rings - any of the three

Four places you have lived:
1. Providence, Rhode Island
2. Upper Arlington, Ohio
3. Washington, DC
4. Tuckahoe, New York

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. Farscape
2. What Not to Wear
3. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
4. Battlestar Galactica

Four websites you visit daily:
1. BBC News
2. Yarn Harlot
3. Google? Does that count?
4. Talking Points Memo

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Clotted cream
2. Samosas
3. Cheddar cheese
4. Pan-fried Peking ravioli

Four places you'd rather be right now:
1. Quebec City, Quebec
2. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
3. any bookstore
4. the park in Bideford, Devon, with a nice lunch from the 24 hour Tesco and a sunny day

Four places you've been on vacation:
1. York, England
2. Mexico City
3. Quebec City
4. Truro, Massachusetts

Four bloggers you'll be tagging:
oh, crap. I'm so new to this that I don't have that many to tag. Apologies to the following near-total strangers:
1. Sep
2. Brooklyn Tweed
3. Franklin
4. Ackery

And then there's the knitting.
The stripey commission is progressing, and I have re-started the lacy sock, for the third time. And it's going just fine, so far. So no more "frog the whole thing including the sock that doesn't have anything wrong with it because you will definitely get both the same size if you knit them on two circs at the same time", thank you. This is of course excellent advice, were it not proffered to a crazed weasel. I'm far too stubborn to do the obvious and sensible thing. I will instead pretend that knitting the same sock three times is less work than knitting two socks twice.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Grace's Poppies - A bloggers' silent poetry reading
What a good idea. Poems in honor of either the groundhog, or the Feast of St. Bridgid (who for some reason I associate, no doubt incorrectly, with Boadicca) (which you will notice I can't really spell) (bloody Romans). Thanks, Ruth.

My choice:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest, it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown.
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attibute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway,
It is entrhoned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.
--Portia, Act IV scene 1, The Merchant of Venice, by William Shakespeare

And a brief whoo-hoo:
That last batch of designs? I sold one, it turns out. Yay! Of course, this does mean that I am well and truly screwed for the Olympics, but hey, life on the edge is where you get the best view.

I have finished winding all the yarn for my Olympic Project. I'm not so panicked now. The pattern isn't all that complex, when you get down to it. Every leaf section has rows of just plain one color every so often, so I'll have little "sanity breaks" in there as I go. (does this sound like rationalizing? 'cause it sounds like it to me...)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Not again! Argh!
Well, I frogged the second sock again. It was nearly ready for a heel flap, and I looked at it, and ... rather than being way too tight, this time it's way too loose.

I'm not sure you can see from the picture, but the one on needles is quite a bit bigger than the completed sock. In fact, 3 pattern repeats on the too-loose sock are the same length as 3 and a half repeats on the completed sock. Which I didn't seem to have any trouble knitting the first time. But for some reason I need to reknit this sock over and over (and over) again in order for it to be even close to the same size.

Have I mentioned that I am NOT a process knitter??? I am NOT ENJOYING reknitting the same sock. I want to WEAR the sock.

The kids are more overscheduled than usual today, so Ruth, Kathleen, everybody, I'll see you next week, with the free lace project (the weird looking thing). I may have a sick husband coming home today--could be the same nasty bug going around everyone else's households. Or it could be the fumes from the paint stripper.

And hey! There's a Stitch & Bitch at the Nashua Borders on Sunday, 2 - 5, if anybody's up for it.

I'm going to ignore the now-ripped sock yarn for a while and look at the February Almanac chapter now. I may pout, too.