See Jane Knit

Monday, November 28, 2005

If I had a nickel... 

...For every time I wished the semester was over, I'd be freakin rich. And I'd be able to pay someone to do all the work I didn't feel like doing, so I could relax, do my performances, and knit some.

Unfortunately, I don't have those nickels. Damn.

So, not much knitting has been going on at Casa di Jane (that's Italiano for my house, people) mostly because it is hitting that special time of the school year when you wish that there was a fast-forward button on the remote of life. I've got three concerts in the coming two weeks, plus an audition, two papers to write in a foreign language, at least two books to read, and a faux-lesson plan to dream up for my anthropology class. Say it with me people: AHHHHHHHHHH.

So, since I am just too damn tired to knit, how do I relieve stress? Why, I BUY YARN! Of course! This bit of delicious yarn pr0n comes to you by way of Flying Fingers, which I had the good fortune to visit the day after Thanksgiving. I took the train up to Irvington; I actually loved the train ride, because I got to gaze at the beautiful Hudson River both ways. Although it was what I (a weakling Californian) like to call "ass cold" outside.* This yarn pr0n is also generously sponsored by my Mom. Thanks Mom. I loves ya.

Moebius in the making

Exhibit A: A 40'' pair of Addi Naturas and some Classic Elite Beatrice (100% Merino wool) to go with it. The needles and yarn are currently creating a Moebius scarf, with a bit of help from yours truly.

Supersock and Alpaca

Exhibit B & C: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in River. Yum. Plus some Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight (I actually have a second skein of this, and the color is actually much brighter and more saturated). Double Yum.

(Not shown: A copy of the First treasury of Magical Knitting. I mean, it's just a book, so it's not really that exciting.)

I was hoping to buy some laceweight yarn while I was there, as I've been craving another shawl, but they didn't have much for lace, atleast not much that I found intriguing. This is not really a problem though, because I can get excellent laceweight for cheap from Knitpicks. Not to mention, I've been thinking about giving some of their heathered laceweight merino a try. Or I could order some Baby Cashmere from Elann.com, or their Baby Silk. Mmm a cashmere and alpaca shawl...See? This is clearly a sign of stress. I need to step away from the computer right now and get working, before I purchase again!



*By the way, the term "ass cold" is not really specific to any kind of weather. Technically, it describes weather that is so cold that your ass actually gets starts to freeze underneath your pants and long coat. This term can be used interchangeably with "freakin cold," "really freaking cold," and "FUCKit'scold!"
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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dad's Hat is done! 

Ah, one Christmas gift down, one to go! Here is Dad's hat:

Dad's Hat1

And a close-up to show the decreases.

Dad's Hat2

Vitals
Pattern:
My own.
Yarn: One skein of RYC Cashsoft DK, in a deep wine red
Needles: Clover Bamboo Circs, sz 7 16", and Clover Bamboo DPNS, also sz 7
Notes: Nothing too exciting here. After a few false starts due to a lack of adequate attention paid to the math/gauge, this went very smoothly. The pattern is so basic that I pretty much made it up as I went along. I'm hoping this will be the right size for my Dad's large head. I come from a family of large heads, but this thing fits me, so I'm thinking it will fit Dad.

In other knitting news, I turned the heel of the sock, as you can see here:

Sock progress

Not too exciting, but that's not really the point here. I really need to get these socks done, because it is really -I repeat- REALLY FRIKKIN COLD in my house. And other that knitting myself a housewarmer, there's not a lot I can do. You see, the house I live in is actually a dorm; it may be shaped like a house, but it truly is a dorm. My college built these dorms, all house-shaped, when there was a serious need for more student housing on campus. Apparently they were planning to build a new student dorm, so the houses were meant to be more of a temporart solution. Clearly, temporary became permanent. The funny thing is, these houses were actually built from plans based on student housing from a university in Arizona. Clearly, someone forgot the crucial difference between Arizona and New York: snow. Namely, it snows one hell of a lot more here. But I guess no one thought about that here at my school.

So it's cold in my dorm, and it's really not even that cold outside, and I am left hunkering down for a long and chilly winter. I have heard from my other housemates that last year the temperature hovered around 45 degrees Fahrenheit in our common room. And that's with all the windows taped over with plastic, and a space heater going. There is only one way I can think to combat this problem: I've got to knit more socks. And I've got to knit them really fast.

In other life news, I've been pretty much buried under work of all kinds. I'm finally begining to crawl out from underneath it all, which is a big plus. Things are looking up in the larger scheme of things. Breaking up with my boyfriend of 1.5+ years sucked, but it has forced me to make new friends and get to know my other friends better, both of which have turned out to be a lot of fun. I'm glad to be able to widen my social circle a bit.

...While I wrote that last sentence, I realized that my feet are freezing. Time to get back to knitting socks.
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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Holiday Knitting Tenets 

In lieu of knitting pictures (because honestly, they'd only be more the same - Dad's hat is a little longer, so is the sock) I give you a few thoughts and observations on the holiday season in relation to knitting. Be dazzled by my wit. Or just check back later for more actual knitting.

I believe it was Jen who alerted me to the fact that there are some knitters out there who aren't content knitting just one or two Christmas gifts. Oh no. They won't even stop at 5 or 6. Check out a certain Holiday Knit-A-Long blog. These people plan on knitting -wait for it- 25 SEPARATE GIFTS. Yes. That's for THIS Christmas, people. And woe to the poor knitters who celebrate Hanukkah, which comes before Christmas; they have even less time to finish that gargantuan pile of UFO's. Say it with me friends: There is. NO. Way. To quote my favorite Christmas movie (brownie points to anyone who guesses it) "Halleluia! Holy shit! Where's the tylenol?" I feel like smacking these knitters with a half-frozen/very dry and stringy turkey, because my God, 25 gifts. 25?! I don't even plan on giving gifts to that many of my friends and relatives, let alone knit for all of them.

People, this is wrong. Sick and wrong. This kind of holiday knitting is a disease. We need to stop these knitters before they hurt themselves, or someone near them. You might be asking, dear readers, how can you prevent yourselves from becoming one of these Christmas knitting Godzillas? You must remember and repeat often these 3 very important Holiday Knitting Tenets.

The First Holiday Knitting Tenet: Knitting does not equal love.

No matter how much you'd like to believe the opposite, knitting something for someone is not the same as loving them. It's not the same as caring about them. It's not even the same as giving a bag of steaming llama droppings whether they live or die. It's just knitting something for them. Plain and simple. Knitting cannot validate a relationship, so you shouldn't feel like a sorry excuse for a human being if you don't knit something for every human being you come into contact with on a regular basis. If you don't knit a gift for your cousin's mother's dogwalker's uncle, that doesn't mean you don't like him; you just didn't knit him something. Period. Heck, he might prefer a storebought gift to those handknit socks. Which brings me to...

The Second Holiday Knitting Tenet: Not everyone needs knits, not everyone wants knits.

I know, I have trouble with this one too. Who couldn't love the warm fuzzy goodness of a handknit scarf/pair of socks/etc? Well, here's a tough truth of the world: some people don't actually NEED or WANT your knitting. Sending a pair of merino wool socks to your cousin in the Bahamas is probably a bad idea, because not only is it too darn hot to wear the things, but (in her mind at least) socks are something you buy for yourself, in bulk, at Target. In short, she won't really appreciate it, she'll probably never use it, and when she opens the box on whatever holiday she celebrates, she'll only think, "Socks ... huh." And then you'll be ready to throttle her the next time she comes to visit because she never mentioned your beautiful socks, that bitch! Which brings me to the final salient point here ...

The Third Holiday Knitting Tenet: Before you begin, knitter, heal thyself.

In case you haven't noticed, most of the problems with knitting for the Holidays don't really rest with the receiver of the knitted gifts. The real problem is the great gap between what the misguided knitter feels the appropriate reaction to a knitted gift should be, and what the normal reaction is. Ordinary people, that is to say non-knitters, can not understand the kind of work that goes into a handknitted gift. After all, we live in the age of instant gratification, so most people have a hard time getting their heads around the time and work that goes into a hand made gift. A tepid reception is almost a guarantee. So why don't knitters see this coming? Well, I believe that for a lot of them (not all, but quite a few), hand knitted gifts are more about reassuring their own egos, knitting or not, than about actually making something for someone else. It also seems to be about bragging to their knitting friends that they knit _insert insane number of gifts here_ this year. And then making that really disgusting smug face so you just want to smack them upside their pretty little head. It's about validating their abilities, or perhaps their worth as a human being. The problem here is that giving is not about making yourself happy; it's about making someone ELSE happy. So no matter how many gifts you knit for people, you probably won't feel any better about your knitting or yourself than you did before. (FYI, this is the reason the Boyfriend Sweater curse has some truth in it.) Examine your motives before you knit, people. Let go of the need to be worshiped for your knitting skills. Just enjoy giving someone something. This way, you might be a little more relaxed, and not end up drunkenly scraping the bottom of the eggnog bowl on Christmas eve at 4 am, while trying to knit two baby sweaters at the same time.

In conclusion, dear readers, holiday knitting is a tricksy, obsessive, egotistical beast. It can be tamed, but only if you don't let yourself become the beast. Ride above the raging tides and you will emerge, intact and serene, in January.

And with that rather Zen-like note, I'm going to go meditate, and try not to freak out about all the holiday knitting I have yet to do. Ahah. Ahah. Someone pass the eggnog.
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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Progress, made and ... not made. Ahem. 

Isn't it funny how when you have something (or two things) that you really should be knitting, all you want to do is knit something else? Why IS that?

I actually haven't wanted to really knit anything lately. This is due to a powerful combination of lots of music to learn, lots of Italian to read, lots of stress to stress about, and my personal life generally going to crap all at once. Being newly single after almost two years in a school full of crazy people (and really, they're crazy, all of them) doesn't do a whole lot to improve your outlook on life, you know? Ah, ain't life grand. At least there's knitting.

In case you couldn't tell, I haven't started on the Christmas knitting yet. The most I've done is swatch for my sister's Minisweater. Just swatched. I haven't even measured the damn thing. I need to get other needles for Dad's hat. I've decided to screw secrecy because if I don't blog about this, I won't be accountable to anyone. And if I'm not accountable to anyone, it's just not going to get done. Not before this Christmas, that is. I'm the type of person who needs someone on my ass to accomplish anything. Well, anything other than music related work; that I manage to get done in a timely fashion all on my own. This is probably the reason I have chosen music as my career. And methinks it is a good reason indeed.

For those who asked, the yarn I'm using for my sister's gift is the lovely (and sadly discontinued) Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. I got this from Kaleidoscope Yarns, which seems to have some of the last of this stuff. I really wish they hadn't had to discontinue this yarn, because it's one of the few 100% cotton yarns that has a really nice hand, and a lovely texture when it's knit up. I know that Cottonade from K1C2 is similar, but gosh darn it, it's just not quite the same. I also really need to buy new needles for this, because my other pair of sz 7 circs were in one of the two fateful packages that my school post office LOST last summer. Oh no, I'm not still bitter about that ... not in the slightest ... although I did seriously consider knitting a BadJuju to represent every incompetent employee at the PO. Anyway, the only pair I have left are only 16'' long. And that's just way too damn short to knit a Minisweater on. *sigh* Ordering more needles can only mean ordering yarn, which is a really BAD idea right now ...

I have actually made some progress on Samus though!
(Imagine a picture here, because it looks almost exactly the same as last time, just longer.)
I will be glad to get done with the cabled band, as I'm currently in the mood for zombie-stockinette, not hero-cables. So, to fill my necessary quota of zombie-stockinette, I started a pair of socks! Lookie!

New Sock

Are these for someone else? For Christmas? Er ... no. Am I putting off my Christmas knitting by knitting these socks? Er ... maybe ... well ... yeah, probably.

Hey! Don't look at me in that tone of voice!

EDIT: I finally put the pedal to the metal, and I'm almost half way through Dad's hat! Woo! Go me!

Dad's Hat
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Thursday, November 03, 2005

New things to start 

First order of business: Thanks to all of y'all who offered your praise and compliments on both Kiri and my Firstish Sweater! What can I say, it's nice to bask in the spotlight sometimes. A couple of people asked if I was planning to write out the pattern for the sweater. I guess I'd consider it, but I'd have to tweak it a bit to make it actually come out like mine. The thought of resizing said pattern also makes my brain kind of hurt. So, we'll see where that goes.

Second order of business: I've started on Samus! After finally getting gauge on sz 6 needles (a full 2 sizes smaller than recommended on the ball band - I am the loosey-goosiest knitter, folks), I cast on and started knitting the cabled band at the bottom. I'm using Patons Classic Merino, which I'm actually really enjoying. It ain't the softest merino around, and it does feel a bit dry and lifeless while knitting, but the fabric it produces is softer than I expected. And the way it shows those cables, my goodness! These things are combined with a price so low it forces me to continually check my receipt from Joanne's because such a low price could never be! I feel like the guys in the unfinished episode of Clerks (the animated series, not the movie, mind you) which was sent to a Japanese animation company to be finished (this is best said in a really bad Japanese accent) : "Who is driving?! Bear is driving?! HOW CAN THAT BEEEE?!"

By the way, if you've never seen that show, now's the time to fix that.

Back on the topic of knitting, because that's why we're all here, I've currently finished about 1.5 cable repeats. Take a look-see:

Cable Begining

I'm also loving this green color I chose. If I squint my eyes just right, it almost looks tweedy! I may be delusional (may be? who am I kidding...) but still, you've got to admit, it's a nice green!

Third order of business: I will also be begining some Christmas knitting shortly. I'm not sure if I want to talk about that here, since I'm only knitting two things, both for members of my family. As I recently found out, my parents like to read my knitblog. Aside from being both really funny and really sad at the same time, I don't want to spoil the surprise of their presents. I guess this doesn't make any sense since I'm only knitting for my dad and my sister, and they both know what I'm knitting them, AND they picked out the yarn themselves. Oh well, I guess I just want to keep the pretension of a surprise going ... Anyway, here's the beginings of my plans for my sister's gift:

1824 Cotton

And for my dad's:

RYC Cashsoft

Fourth order of business: This one goes into the "WTF" category. If you thought that Noro yarn was expensive, try a Noro feather boa. Don't worry. It'll only set you back, oh say, 150 bucks. For SEVENTY INCHES. Aha. Aha. Oh God.
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