Monday, December 31, 2007

End of Year Roundup

I can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post, but (obviously) there's been a lot going on.

Adam and I went to my parents' in Pittsburgh from 12/22-25. We drove - well, Adam did all the driving, both ways, which was very very nice for me which took us 6 hours over and about 5 3/4 coming back, even including stops. I knitted the whole way over and as much of the way back as we had daylight for. I was working on socks made with some Sundara sock yarn; here's the first one:

For Christmas Adam gave me a spinning wheel, which I knew about but didn't open until the morning we were going to drive over to Pittsburgh. I gave him a knife skills class and an interesting collection of comics by Winsor McCay (aka Silas). I read about it on BoingBoing and felt it was a good choice for him. I think he was kind of mystified about it, but he liked it. And, of course, the custom knitted gloves were his other present. He has shown them off to family and friends and it's very sweet and makes me feel glad I made them. For me they were "merely" an interesting knitting challenge, but I can see they are very important to him, and I'm glad.

When we got home from my parents Adam put the spinning wheel together and we both tried it out. He was pretty good at it as well. Here's me starting to learn how to spin:

I worked the rest of the week, but it was pretty mellow because few coworkers were around. As a consequence I actually got a lot done on some things that I needed quiet time to get done, specifically coding which is too hard to do with people interrupting you all the time.

And now we're in the long weekend at the year's end. Adam's sister and her husband and son came up from Virginia, and we have been hanging out with them a lot. Also his other sister came up from south Jersey. Last night we all played Cranium. I find that I am such a good sport when my team is winning, and I have a harder time being really nice about it when we are not. What a shock!

Tonight we are going over to Adam's pals H&R's for dinner, and I am bringing a cake, which I made last night and frosted today. It's an Alton Brown recipe for Gold [i.e., yellow] Cake and Cocoa Whipped Cream frosting. I sifted some cocoa over the top after I frosted it. I am not a huge cake-maker, but I think this looks real pretty. I will have to get a little dressed up to match the cake.

After dinner we'll come back home and Adam's sister and family will be back and we'll have champagne or sparkling cider and maybe popcorn and movies or something. I am looking forward to ringing in the New Year. Doing nothing tomorrow but knitting and watching Adam play video games.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Garbage Disposal is finally installed!

I bought it on August 23 ... and it took four more months and cost a total of $620.49, but I finally have my long dreamed-of garbage disposer! It was installed today.

We put two apple cores in it and ran it. It is wonderful!

Beating the little hater!

I recommend this message to everybody who knows that perfectionism is the enemy of progress and yet struggles to get past it, who knows that procrastination will hold you back but still feels like all the floor magnets are turned on, who battles laziness...

I am definitely not cool enough to post this, but here it is anyway:

Beating the Little Hater, from ill Doctrine a hip-hop video blog hosted by Jay Smooth, creator of and founder of New York's longest running hip-hop radio show, WBAI's Underground Railroad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh my aching back!

I have had some back pain that has been steadily increasing over the past two months or so. It's not the kind of back pain I've had in the past; once I actually threw out my back (which made me feel old, yes) and I've had knots in my shoulders forever from bad posture while working. This is in my lower left back but actually on the side and it feels like I need to stretch the area but even when I stretch it doesn't help. I have gone twice recently for massages at my place in Chinatown and they were great massages, done by a chiropractor who also did adjustments to my neck and back while he was working on me, but it hasn't helped. It actually hurts to get out of bed or get up from the sofa, and in the morning when I bend over to put on my underwear after a shower it particularly hurts when I lift my left leg. (Sorry if that's TMI. I do occasionally shower. At least I'm clean, and it's clean underwear.)

"Sciatica" has been the suggestion from several people but it's not in the right place. Sciatica is closer to the center of the back - this is actually on the side - and goes down around the bottom down your leg, none of which is happening now. I went to the doctor today and she asked a bunch of questions, tapped on my knees with the little rubber mallet, moved my neck and my legs around, and took a urine sample. It could be something to do with my kidney, although frankly I doubt it because there's nothing interesting in my pee. She said most likely it's a pinched nerve.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

In the meantime, Spherey!

I used up the Kokopelli left over from Williamsro and the Polar left over from my niece's Ellie sweater in a little Spherey. Here he is riding on Dusty's back:

And now taking five:

Dusty was surprisingly tolerant of me posing Spherey on and around him and taking his photo over and over!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It might get sent back

Somebody in the Seasons group on ravelry recommended I email Sundara about the Silk Lace yarn because of the knots in it that I was complaining about; I hadn't thought of that, and figured I would have to live with it. I emailed her this afternoon to ask if she wanted to replace it. I love her yarns and just bought some more sock yarns because the colors were so beautiful, but this has been less than perfect.

I may have made a mistake on the lace shawl last night; at some point, I couldn't figure out why, it started to go weirdly. (I wonder if there are errata for the pattern somewhere.) So I unraveled a few rows, but couldn't get reoriented within the pattern, so I took out about another inch of work, but have yet to get the stitches all back onto the needles because it's so painstaking and close-up work. Arrrrgggghhhh. It was VERY frustrating. I threw it across the room once, which didn't hurt but didn't help either. I was close to giving up anyway. Now that it might get sent back to Sundara because of the knots anyway, I think I'm just going to frog that crap.

I'm also working on a Spherey in between, so I can just go finish that instead.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Juno Regina trumps Adamas for Sundara

I started knitting the Adamas Shawl, but I didn't like it so I unraveled it and started making the Juno Regina stole instead. It's pretty so far, and it has a long portion of plain knitting channeled with eyelets that I can do without minding a chart. I didn't want to do something that would require me to watch the chart for the entire duration of the project.

I'm a little disappointed with my Sundara yarn, I have to say. I saw photos on Ravelry of other people's skeins of this same shade, which is called "Copper over Bamboo," and in theirs the "bamboo" portions are more extensive and peek through a lot more. In mine they are so few and far between it looks like a mistake in the dyeing. Plus it's very knotty. I found at least 5 knots while winding the ball. It's not the quality I was hoping for. I hope the next installment is a little better.

Adam's gloves are done

Here is my best friend, lover, partner, boyfriend, my favorite, my man ... with his finished gloves:

I love how happy he looks.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

"No lace, Mrs Bennet, I beg you!"

I decided to use the Sundara yarn to make the Adamas shawl (also viewable on Ravelry). It's a nice manageable-looking lace pattern that I think I can tolerate for the time it will take to finish it. I might even enjoy it.

I used to enjoy lace knitting so much, until I started working on the Filigree Lace Jacket by Joan McGowan-Michael from White Lies Designs. I like her designs quite a lot, but once I actually started knitting it, I realized it was the exact same lace pattern as a little shrug-esque Rowan sweater I'd made about a year before, and not only that, but I'd chosen the same yarn, Calmer (different color, but that hardly matters). I've already knitted too much in that yarn, this being the third sweater in it. Not only all of that, but then after knitting about 18 or 20 inches I discovered that it no longer will fit me, as I've fattened up too much for it. So, since I had yet to do any shaping on the body of the thing, I decided to make it a shawl. But it's the shawl that will never end, having been damned too much in its already too-long work life. I work on it when I have nothing else in progress. I think it's already been two or three years in the making. That's long for me.

Anyway, anyway, the new lace shawl; maybe it will restore my faith in lace knitting. We'll see. I just have to finish Adam's other glove before I can begin. I have been remarkably good about doing one thing at a time, these days.

* * * * *

I made Rocks, molded shortbread cookies with two pecan halves at their centers, on Thursday night,

and fudge today.

The holiday cookie/candy making season is upon me.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

First Sundara Seasons Yarn Club mailing!

I got home tonight and was so excited to open my very first mailing from my very first yarn club - the Sundara Yarn Seasons Yarn Club. I am in the Autumn group, and I got this lovely plummy colored silk lace yarn with which I have absolutely no idea what I will make. But I am very excited to have it. She is wondrous talented with color. Having dyed exactly one skein of yarn now in my entire lifetime I can really see what the fuss is all about - being good at it is no small accomplishment I think.

Anyway, here's the goods:

Monday, December 3, 2007

Fits like a glove

My boyfriend has a birth defect, and his left hand was malformed. He underwent a lot of surgeries as a child and surgeons built up his fingers some more, but not to the point where his hand is the same size and formation as his other hand. He's fine with it, as far as I have ever been able to tell, but has always wanted gloves, since standard ones never fit his hand. So for Christmas, one of his presents from me is a pair of knitted gloves. Over the weekend I spent several hours knitting and unraveling and reknitting the individual finger pieces, then put them together, and by last night I had made him a close-to-perfectly fitted glove. I kept careful notes, and he pointed out a couple modifications that I included, and I will write up the pattern for myself so I can make more of them in the future. It came out great, because it fits him ... like a glove. I'm now making the right hand glove, which is the normal shape & size, so it doesn't require many notes (although I worked initially from a woman's glove pattern so I did have to change the number of cast-on stitches).

We took a cast of his hand so I'd have something to work from when he wasn't around, although ultimately it was easier to ask him to try on the various pieces as I worked on them. Here's a picture of the cast:

and then a picture of the glove:

I'm very proud of this as it is almost like sculpture. It's very very satisfying, working and ripping out and reworking a piece until it has the desired shape. I guess it's not surprising, since I was a sculptor in college and I have an art degree. So I'm licensed to ill.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stix-n-stitches blog post about my socks :)

I stopped by my LYS, Stix-n-stitches, and showed them Nora's socks while I was there. They took a picture, which amused me, and later I found that they had posted it on their blog: