Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why does this freaking week hate me??

Truly, it wants to torture me before I die from frustration! In case the weekend wasn't enough, the crap has continued!
Yesterday, like a good sister, I left an hour early for work so that I could take my brother to the bank on the way. He went in to open an account, and I stayed in the car. Like a good little girl, thinking of the environment, I turned the engine off and let the battery run the radio. I bet you can guess.... That's right, when he came back out the battery was dead enough that it wouldn't crank. Less than twenty minutes before the both of us needed to be at work. My car is 10 years old, and things have started breaking off of it with some regularity.... Turns out that this is the original battery and it has never gone bad before, so I have pressed my luck long enough. A very nice lady (who opened my brother's account) had jumper cables. The jumping of my car actually became somewhat of a local attraction before it was all over.... Me, my brother, the lady from the bank, and two other bank customers, all staring at my car engine. We were 9 minutes late. Sigh.
You won't believe it, but things got worse..... Today, at lunch, AFTER half of my day had gone by, I reached into my purse to get change for a Pepsi, my horrible weakness, and things felt a little damp. I patted around for a while until I realized that A CAT HAD PEED IN MY PURSE! Not just any purse, either, but my beloved Namaste Malibu bag, my only present for myself out of the bonus before last. EVERYTHING IN MY PURSE WAS WET FROM CAT PEE!!! My wallet was soaked. My phone, moist and smelly. My iPod. I cleaned all the un-replaceable essentials with about a bucket full of hand sanitizer and threw the rest away. Including my beautiful bag. I am very sad, and now I am vowing revenge against this malicious week! Watch out week. I've got my eye on you.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ginormous, or the crappy weekend just past.

I had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad weekend. There were emotional meltdowns aplenty, and my lovely purple leaf tee has turned out to be a disaster. Yes, an unmitigated disaster. It is still quite lovely, don't get me wrong. I made almost NO mistakes, which is rare for me, and the yarn is GREAT. Sadly, it would fit three of me. No kidding. It is ginormous. You couldn't tell on the needles, since that keeps it bundled up to the 24" length of the circulars. (And asking me now if I moved it to waste yarn and tried it on in progress is like asking me after my hard drive crashed if I had a backup. Don't go there.) Nobody I know can wear it. I am broken-hearted over the whole thing. Now, to frog or not to frog.... I am so frustrated that I worked for three weeks on a project that would fit The Human Ton from The Tick, and right now I can't bear to look at the stupid thing. On the other hand, it really is beautiful and perfect (if GINORMOUS), and I would love wearing it if I had a shrink ray. Do I have the patience to rip it out and start over?? Only time will tell.

Amidst the meltdowns, and they were legion and brutal and will not be addressed herein, I was way, way too stressed out to decide this weekend. I picked up the next project on my mental/Ravelry list and started going to town. After making a very, very careful guage swatch. Please notice how careful that I am being with the guage swatch. Serious stuff, the swatch. It is going pretty well, my Kingscot. I am making it in the recommended yarn, Berroco's Pure Merino DK, which I really, really like. (So much so that I have been fantasizing about other projects just calling out for this yarn. Good on you, Berroco! Cuzco, and now Pure Merino! Yarn love.) If that is not the color on the left, then I am going blind. It is a dark, slate-y blue-green. The color is luscious, the hand is soft but with some body, and I now understand what bloggers mean by "sproingy." It just is! It defies any other description! In what ended up being a geeky marathon of sorts, The Mom, Matt and I watched 10 hours of the HBO show True Blood in one sitting. I got LOTS of knitting done.... I am almost up to the arm holes in the back, and I just started it on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully, this will be the good thing that comes out of the crappy weekend.... (Other than one mis-twist in a tiny cable. Thank goodness for dark yarn!!!)
Now I am just waiting for the next season of True Blood on DVD! (What's that you say? It hasn't even come on tv yet?? I wonder how much HBO costs?)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I have to file a retraction on something I wrote yesterday. It has come to my attention that the big black cat's name is Blossom, not Buttercup. I was notified yesterday by the cat's owner, also my brother, Matt. I sincerely apologize for any hurt or confusion this has caused. Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Making good on the promise to post photos!!

So, here is what I have been working on since the weather started to turn warm! I have finished the Beachcomber Tunic, which I adore completely. As a matter of fact, I am wearing it at work as I type. I figure this is my last chance before it is hot enough to melt me in the car.... Isn't it pretty? Eventually, I will get a pic of me in it.... People at Stitches actually reached out to touch it, one even asked me about the pattern. I am so proud! The first finished object that I can actually model! As you can see, Buttercup, the big black cat likes it, too. He was mighty disappointed when I put it on this morning! (Yes, his name is Buttercup, and no, I didn't name him.)

Camellia is done all but the neck edging and the tying in of ends. Everyone is well aware how I love tying in ends, so who knows how long that will take.... I am very happy to report that it fits, which was not looking so certain as I sewed the seams, so I am thrilled with the nearly finished object. I am eager to wear it, so maybe I will get it done this weekend. I am thinking crochet for the neck edge, rather than the manadrin sort of knitted collar it calls for, since I am not adding the ribbon tie at the opening. I am afraid that a stand up collar would flop over if not secured. Here are some detail pics, just 'cause I think it is pretty! The true color is much closer to the dark picture, a beautiful red wine color, very little of the purple to it, but not nearly so red as the lighter images would suggest. Forgive me for the pictures. I am aware that they are pathetic!

I have liked this project so much, despite some vagueness in the directions that I may have to add some more Kate Gilbert to the old queue. However, NOTHING is going into the queue for a good long while, until some of the scheduled projects are in the finished pile!

(Why, oh why does the layout on these blog posts never even resemble the layout that I create with text and pictures when I am composing?? It would be so cool if I could arrange everything to my satisfaction and then have it actually look like that when I was done.)
I am almost done (doesn't that sound familiar?) with the Top Down Leaf Tee from Classic Elite. It is going to be done very soon, one way or the other, since I am just about out of yarn and it is looking like a pretty decent length already. It is so very PURPLE... I seem to be very attracted to jewel tones for summer.... Shakin' up the wardrobe, lovin' me some colors in the red family! Anyway, I am almost to the end of the increases for the waist, so when those are done I will put it on waste yarn and try it on. Cross your fingers for me.
Last but not least, got my last new yarn for a while: MMMM, Malabrigo! I can see now why everyone on Ravelry says it that way! This is two skeins of 4ply sock yarn one StoneChat and one Solis. I am in love! I got it for the Mom and Vickie, in Titian Red and Impressionist Sky respectively, as very early birthday presents so we could all knit the Ishbel shawl. I told them both that they don't HAVE to knit a shawl with it, since it is a present, not an assignment, but that is what I had in mind. I figured that it would be easier to learn on than cobweb laceweight.... They are so beautiful.... Le sigh!
I am in knitting wonderland! Just don't ask me about money.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Knitting Organization 101

So, it took a thread on Ravelry, but I got my queue in some kind of order last night. It is very exciting to get it all laid out there and ready to go, and now I am having the serious urge to start all the new projects at once! (Don't I always have that urge??) Ironically, despite my determination to buy yarn only for specific projects and go through them in some semblance of order, the first one queued is Liesl by Ysolda, for which I have no yarn. Yet. It is so summery, though, with its lacy fabric and mid-sleeve construction, that I can't resist! Maybe the King Tut cotton that I got at stitches will work for it? I must swatch.
I have made great progress on the summer knits that I have already started, even though I have not produced the promised pictures. Camellia is done but for the neck edge and ends, and I am delighted to report that it fits! The top-down leaf tee will be done sooner than later, one way or the other, since I am almost out of yarn. I am going to be really irritated if I can't finish because I ran out of yarn!! And once again, I promise pictures coming soon....
In other news, vacation plans have now been made. Mom, Vickie and I are going to make the short trek to Charleston for a couple of days in the middle of the week during my vacation. I have never been to Knit, their infamous LYS, so I am thrilled at the prospect. And also looking forward to trite tourist stuff, even though I have done it all before. Except for the ferry to Fort Sumter, which I haven't done, and am REALLY excited about! There is probably something wrong with me....
Matt has finished his first week working here with me. He seems to like it ok, and is pleasantly surprised that the people are so very nice. He got lucky and started during Call Center Appreciation Week, so there were fun, games, and extra dress down days!
I also may be the only person in South Carolina that is happy that the temperature shouldn't get over 70 this week.... That means that I can wear the Beachcomber Tunic again!! WHoopie!@!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Truly a nerd.

I saw Star Trek on Sunday. It was The Mom's request for Mother's Day, which means that I come by my nerdiness honestly! It was, as the hamster in Bolt would say, FULLY AWESOME! They managed to hit all the right nostalgia buttons without going to far. I can't wait for the next one, which I hear is already in production.
There has been knitting progress, but still the promised pictures have not appeared. I separated the sleeves for the top down sweater last night, and I am more excited about it than ever.... I am nearing the spot where I can try it on!! Camellia is half way put together, hopefully I will finish that this week. Other than that, just a regular work week in progress.... :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Through the ages since my last post....

Ok, so I have sucked extra badly at posting recently. And this one will be boringly devoid of pictures and full of excuses, too, so the blog-faithful may want to skip this entry. Few though they may be....

I have been facing a sort of blog-moral-quandary type thing. I want to write, I think about it often, but I just am blocked by mixed feelings of all kinds! How have I gotten so emotional about this thing? It is just how I roll, I guess. The quandary is this: I want to be all happy-happy-joy-joy here and talk about knitting, 'cause that is fun, and who wants to read about me whining about my life? Actually I feel PRESSURE to be happy-go-lucky-knitter-girl since I know others might read this. But what happens when even knitting isn't making me FEEL an overall sense of happy-happy-joy-joy?? AND, (here is where it becomes a real quandary), shouldn't I make this my happy place? Shouldn't I "behave my way to success" a la Doctor Phil? Shouldn't I do the Oprah thing where I journal happy things every day so that I appreciate my life more? I don't know what the right thing is here, and it has kept me away from the blog. What I have decided, though, is that I am obviously not getting anywhere trying to blog only shiny happy things. That has just made me feel icky and pressured, leading to blogging less than once a month. And really, this is supposed to be for ME, so that I have some place to communicate what is going on with me.... I have decided to strive for a balance of happy knitting stories and less happy stuff that is clogging up my head.

Doesn't all that make me sound like I have been near suicidal and hiding it? That is not it at all; it is just that not everything is sunshine and lightness, and I have been trying to pretend that isn't true. So here goes, in no particular order:

I started my day today talking to a bill collector on the phone and then promptly stepping in cat barf. Then discovering that we are out of paper towels. It has made me a little crabby today.

This has been a really crappy time with money for me, recently. With the exception of the money that I carefully saved from my work bonus, small though it was, for Stitches South, I have been under a lot of financial pressure that I have not been dealing with. It is seriously time for me to face these issues head on and get this taken care of. Hence the conversation with the bill collector this morning. Miss Less (no kidding) was pretty nice for a bill collector, but I would like to move bill collectors in general into my past, thank you very much. I have no one to blame but myself. Which makes it even crappier to deal with, really. I have three remaining credit card debts. I have negotiated two of them to payment arrangements, and I have been sending the third one 50$ a month and ducking their calls.... Maybe not the most productive way of dealing with it, but hey, it is a start, right? My mission, should I choose to accept it (and that is by no means a sure thing, judging by past experience) is to get a handle on the credit card bills and therefore the credit rating. I must save money so I can replace my intrepid old Saturn, who is falling apart like the Modest Mouse song. The radio does still work and the dashboard so far has not melted. The knob to the radio, however, has fallen off. And that is the least of my car worries. Life will be better in general if I can get all of that mess under control and off my back. I feel weighted down by money, and it is starting to get to me. Repeat after me, Jennifer: less yarn, more savings. Less yarn, more savings. Less yarn, more savings.

I know that I have mentioned this before, but it has been really bothering me recently. Being single SUCKS. Big time. I hate it. Recently I have hated it so much that I have been nostalgic about relationships past, and that is a really bad sign. Trust me, considering my past relationships, I should be institutionalized for romanticizing memories of love lost. I have finally given up all hope of meeting someone through here in BFE, South Carolina, and I don't know what my other options are. The all-knowing, ubiquitous "they" say that you should do what you love and what makes you happy and that love will find you when you aren't looking. That is crap. What I love is blog reading, art history, novel reading, and knitting. Love is not finding me here in redneck central. I feel old and dorky. I am a 38-year-old (in one month) nerd who lives with my mother. We have five cats. Who will probably eat me when I die alone.

Now see, that is just unproductive whining. What good will it do anyone? Blah.

On the other hand, there IS some happy-happy-joy-joy type news in my life. I have two pregnant friends, and I am thrilled for them despite the voice in the back of my head that says "your time is running out." Debbie, one of my favorite friends, is having another girl, and she is going to be named Skye. I am very excited for her, too. She had a hard time with miscarriages recently, and I have been thinking about her lots. I guess things are going well now and it is time for celebration! And girl knitting! (I love the name Skye. I do not always love the names my friends choose, like I get some kind of vote in the matter. But that one is great, and I am campaigning hard for the middle name to be Blue. Again, like I get a vote, right?) I got the cutest patterns from Appalachian Baby design at Stitches South. (More about Knitting Nirvana later, I assure you....) I believe that little Skye Blue is going to get the Lamb's Ear Cardigan. The picture on the pattern is there on the right. Isn't that adorable??! I think that everyone in the world at some point in their lives should wear a cardigan with lamb's ears on the hoodie.... The world would be a better place.

Courtney is also having a baby, her first, and it is long awaited. I know there are little dances of joy going on up there as we speak! I don't know yet what they are having, but they are probably getting a lamb's ear cardigan, too. Lambs are gender neutral enough for me!!

On a side note, I was amazed to see that they are selling the finished cardigans for over 90$. Wow. I wonder if people are actually buying them for that price? I wonder if I could get someone to pay that here for a cute cardigan?? If I was ever going to be able to design something myself, it is probably a basic baby cardigan.... And I do know a lady who owns a baby boutique. Hmmm, speculation for a later date....

And speaking of happy-happy-joy-joy, we did go to Stitches South! It was awesome, like a giant shopping mall full of yarn! Sigh. I saved carefully for the event, and I think I even was pretty reasonable in my spending. I made a notebook with patterns for which I was shopping so that I would have the actual pattern with me when I wanted the yarn. Not gonna mess up my yarn amounts or weights, no siree! I feel pretty good about my purchases, and am having trouble not starting everything at once. Let's see, I got:
1. Pure Marino DK for my Kingscot in the most beautiful dark blue. Not precisely midnight, but more of a very inky slate blue. I am VERY anxious to start that one, but it will be a fall sweater, so I am trying to restrain myself.
2. Berroco Seduce, a very slinky ribbon yarn to make a very slinky draped cardigan. I had seen the pattern online, and hadn't been interested. I guess I am just a sucker for excellent salesmanship, cause the girl in the Berroco section at the Webs booth sure talked me and my mom into this sweater.... She made me try it on and I was sold. It is one of the ones made out of a big rectangle with sleeves inserted, so that the back comes to funny points and it has a drapey shawl collar... It was way cuter on than in the book. I got a solid sage green for that one. The Mom is already working on it in lavender, and it is really pretty. I just hope I don't go nuts dealing with that slippery yarn and throw the whole thing out the window!
3. A copy of Kim Hargreaves Thrown Together. I really love her patterns, and there are a couple in there that I want to make. I positively covet Olivia. <3>
4. Miss Babs Solo in my very own custom color is on order for the Canopy Cardigan. I have wanted this one since the moment I set eyes on it, so I finally found a yarn with enough "rustic-ness" to it. She sadly didn't have the right color in the right amount of yarn, so I talked to Miss Babs herself, one of my new favorite people, and she is going to make yarn just for me. I can't wait to see it!!! Another fall project that I will have to resist casting on for.
5. Laceweight yarn that I may never be able to do anything with. I have in mind both Ishbel and the Swallowtail Shawl, but I think all three skeins that I bought, though heartbreakingly lovely (hello, olive green laceweight, my love), may be too fine for either of the projects. Or maybe too fine to make either of the projects out of at my level of lace-knitting experience.... Either way, I am having little trouble resisting casting on for these. Right now I am just enjoying petting the pretty yarn.
6. On the last day, we surrendered to the pull of the giant play-pen of clearance yarn at the Discount Brand-Name Yarn booth. I got a bag of 10 skeins of Elsbeth Lavold Silky Wool that I shall turn into the Slinky Ribs pullover from Custom Knits. I feel that Silky Wool is a versatile yarn that doesn't need to wait until fall, so it will get cast on soon. It is navy blue. Not normally my color, but it was half off and the only other color they had was the rust I made the Beachcomber Tunic out of. I seemed to be on a blue kick this time, didn't I? I also grew weak when I hadn't bought as much as everyone else and threw in a bag of King Tut cotton, made in Croatia despite its name. It does say it is the finest cotton, so maybe that is true. It is a lovely greyed down peach color, and cotton, so I am sure that I will find something worthy of ten skeins. Surely! The comments on Ravelry have been positive, thank goodness. I look forward to some further summer knitting!
That seems to be it, other than some loose patterns and a very few needles. I will probably think of more later, but isn't that enough? I hope it is enough to sustain me through the saving time, anyway!!
There has been some knitting in addition to all the acquiring, too! I finished the Beachcomber Tunic completely, in time for Stitches. Despite the 90 degree weather, I proudly wore it Saturday until I actually began to melt in the late afternoon. I was afraid the sweater would be ruined if I actually turned into a puddle of goo, so I took it back to the car.... I love it madly, will wear it as often as possible during all seasons, and have plans for more out of the Silky Wool in the future.... It is the best finished object of my knitting career! Others admired it suitably at the show. :-) Pictures to follow.
The You-tee is seamed and now the ends need to be tied in. It turned out well, but it is a little fitted for me to wear right now, since I have fallen off the diet wagon and feel like a giant wildebeest. It may be a slight exaggeration, but I haven't felt like wearing something that might show off the giant donut that I am growing around my middle. Blech. I will probably get over it sometime soon and sew in the ends.... Pictures of that one eventually....
I used the CotLin that I bought earlier this year to make a Classic Elite pattern to make Camellia. It is awaiting blocking and seaming, which I have every intention of doing this weekend. The pieces are so very cute that I think I will actually get it done, too. I can't wait to see it all completed. And it is starting to get hot enough here to need a short sleeved cotton sweater! I am so seasonally appropriate!!
Now I am working on the top down leaf tee from Classic Elite Round Pond. I haven't made anything but a teddy bear sweater with this construction before. It started out awesome, I was just knitting up a storm. Now, after about a million raglan increases, every row is taking a distinct percentage of my life to complete, and my enthusiasm is waning. I am trying to stick with it, because the Shine Sport in dark eggplant is fab, and the sweater should be cute. Remember, Jennifer, no seams to sew at the end!! Keep going! I am considering making the sleeves a little longer than the pattern calls for. I don't really have the arms to wear cap sleeves, and it is supposed to be easy to modify things in this construction. We shall see..... Anyway, I should have plenty of yarn to do so....
And lest we forget the happy-hap-happiest news of all.... Matt got a job! Yeaaahhhh Matt! He starts Monday at my old customer service job. Not any ones dream job, but hey, they will give him money to come take the abuse.... And he can ride to work with his sister! :-)
Ok, whining and celebrating over for the time being. I will try for a balance in the future and see if that works for me. Hope I didn't scare any readers away. (Hi, readers!)