Monday, September 29, 2008

I wasn't going to post again until

I got to the halfway point on my Who scarf, and I'm thisclose to that point, but not there yet. I have other things I have to do this evening, otherwise I'd have gone to knit Coven (just in case someone out there hasn't gotten the point that I call my knitting group Coven--it's a joke one of my friends make and the reference just stuck for me; not that there's anything wrong with Wicca, I just don't want people thinking I'm Wiccan and then giving me crap because I'm not living up to the Rede).

I had to re-up my passport. Ostensibly, I'm going on vacation next year in Ireland, but that depends on if I can get my friend to understand I'm not made of money and am unwilling to spend $3000 on one week's vacation. Hell, I did a complete semester (three months and change) for under $4000. I can travel way more cheaply, but she's got it into her head that she'll never ever ever get back to Europe again (I believe she thinks she's too old--I'd slap her if I thought her sad little comments were directed at anyone but her; I am, after all, two years older than she is) so she wants to do London, Edinburgh, Bath, Stonehenge and Ireland. I'm perfectly willing to give up Ireland on this trip if she wants to spend her time in England--I love England just fine, and one can spend centuries in London alone without ever seeing everything there is to be seen--but she insists she will be too doddery to even contemplate a return trip to catch Ireland later. Which means that currently we're looking at $2500 in lodgings alone. Goddess help me. And she wonders why I haven't gone on vacation with her before!

I also had to wash Dog. It makes him even surlier than me, which is saying something! He hates bathtimes, he does. Puir laddy. It's actually kind of cute, if you want the truth. Not the surly; he does that all the time, no, he fluffs up like a little lamb!

See, here he is on a regular day, all sleek and plump.

And here he is on bath day, fluffed up and looking all cuddly-scruffy-cute!

And, just 'cause he's adorable, a close up:

Get that camera out of my face, woman, or I will feed it to you. With extreme prejudice.

Awwww. Ain't he just adorable?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Told ya so.

You might recall I said I was waiting for a shipment of yarns from Knitpicks that would make my LYS purchases look like chump change. And lo, when I got home from foraging at the local grocery this morning, look was was on my doorstep!

I've got several skeins of each--this is Knitpicks Shamrock in Hennesy and Connolly. For a shrug I'm designing. You might note a certain color scheme/theme going on, to which I would say you are incredibly clever.

Wool of the Andes in Blackberry. It looked so nice on the screen, and it is nice. Just darker than I anticipated. But I can live with a small shoulder shawl in this color. It is very nice.

WotA in Hyacinth, for a sweater for me. This picture is coming out quite blue, but the actual yarn is more...indigo-violet. I'm going to use it and some older yarn I already had (WotA Cranberry and Smoke) for a variety of Tubey sweater. Here is the whole color scheme together:
Rest assured, the red and grey are accent colors. Big chunks o' accent. I've got sixteen skeins of yarn, I hope it's enough.
And then, while unpacking, I noticed something. Here is my furSon, Dog*:

Hey, dudes. Peace out.
Shamrock Hennessy. It's in Dog colors! Heh.
See? He thinks it's funny, too!
*Names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. And to forestall any cracks about his name. He's really quite sensitive, you know.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The five minute post

I'm getting ready to leave for Coven, but I just had to pop on and say....

*clears throat*

I'm Surly Knitter. And I'm a yarnaholic.


This is my primary evidence. To whit:

Two skeins of Panda Silk, fingering weight, greens. For a Christmas gift, but still.

A total WTF?!?! purchase of Malabrigo yarn weight in Mariposa (it's only wtf because of the colors--although this picture shows the beautiful glowy halo of shine around the yarn--because I'm bang up alongside the idea of Malabrigo in lace weight; can you say yarncrack? Yes. Yes, I thought you could.)

I so fell in love with the Malabrigo lace weight that I had to return after work and get a further two skeins, Apricot. Not my color, but I think it would make a nice lace scarf for my sister, who is a summer.

I actually wanted more of the Mariposa, but apparently I bought the entire stock of the LYS and its satellite store. Huh. Just one? For both stores? Either everyone else loves the pistachio-come-melon-popsicle color, or they only bought one because they thought everyone would hate it. I'm still not even sure I love it, although I know I do, I just don't know why!

Anyway. That's all. Wait until you see what's coming from Knitpicks for me in a few days. Then this post will look like an amateur effort!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The hysteria is gone, but I'm drained. I'm not entirely sure what it was about (although there are three or four possible reasons), but I think I might go to the doctor's about this. If nothing else, if/when it happens again, I'll need something to take the edge off. Seriously. I have a lot more respect for people to get off drugs all at one go, since I feel like I just crashed off something big and heavy.

To console myself, however, I started planning out the shrug I've been thinking about knitting, and made a huge decision. I've decided to knit myself a sweater. I mean, I've never thought of making one up to now because I'm, well. Large. Larger than I'd like to be. But you know what, that doesn't mean I don't deserve a sweater. And hey, if the sweater turns out wrong, I can always frog the yarn out and use it for something else. I'm not sure what else I'll use nearly half a mile of yarn for, unless I suddenly get a massive yen for dozens upon dozens upon dozens of fingerless gloves, scarves or hats. Oh, well. It's all about me, and I want to make myself a sweater. I'm not sure why, but it came to me in the burnout that I should knit myself a sweater, since I've been wanting to for a while, and so I will. As if I'm not worth the effort! I'd be almost indignant if that attitude had come from someone else. I can't believe I took it from myself.

Anyway, I'm resting up, getting my protein and water and trying to get my sleep and stuff. Nieceling called and asked for someone to take her to the bookstore (!) as she had some money to spend and wanted more books. So I took her over, Mom provided some cash in case the girls (Nieceling had a friend over last night and the two wanted some new reading materials) wanted a beverage from the cafe, which they did, and which they got, and I ended up buying a copy of Mansfield Park while waiting for them to finish their drinks, and I'm actually reading it. I'm not very far along, only up to page 26 of my copy, but it's surprisingly readable. Which is a first, for me, to find a book pre-1975 readable. I'll work it as long as I can!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And some random stuff

The Keys to Your Life
Anything good in your life comes from boldly confronting the darkness.

Illusions are dangerous, and you benefit from seeing the world as it truly is.

Anything bad in your life comes from not being true to yourself.

Trust your instincts and follow them. Only you know what's best.

Hysteria--great Def Leppard album, sucks as an emotional state.

It's been a week and some major change since I actually managed to pay off my credit cards (and I got proof in the mail and over the phone this week; acknowledgement from my credit counseling people, trying to sell me their budgeting and money management education services and I subsequently called the credit card people after and got confirmation on my own that it's paid off) and I'm sliding into hysteria as I again fall into a non-goal-oriented state. Even toward the end of the pay off project, I was getting anxious, and not because "ooh, I'm so close, don't let anything go wrong now!" sort of way, but in a "it's really just a matter of sitting and waiting to actually have money in my accounts because it's pretty much automated and completed from here" way. I mean, really, the last month was pretty much just pro forma--the work that had earned the money had been done, so it's not like I was actively working toward a goal anymore, just...holding my own space.

Now, with the pay off official, it's become an active anxiety because I no longer have a goal to focus on in my non-structured time. I mean, if nothing else, paying off my debts gave me something to distract myself with. See, here's how my mind works: I'm a macrothinker, a philosopher. There are days when I can think thoughts that are so big, I can't even express them in human language and I wonder how they manage to fit into the narrow confines of my own skull; I must be channeling them from another dimension because they're just so big and encompassing and wide. Unfortunately, this is also greatly anxiety provoking in much the same way that standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and looking down is: all that space, the urge to jump and cut all ties is just so...strong. It's almost a survival instinct for me to be anxious, it pulls me back from the Big Thoughts and back to the temporal plane, even if it does drive me apeshit.

So, since I have to keep my mind tied down like the inconvenient hot air balloon it is, I need something to ruminate on. Alas, I got in the habit early of worrying as a means of keeping my mind in touch with my body, which is really a bad habit to get into. If for no other reason than it will, in the words of the Southern Belles, "give me lines." Another bad habit I have is creating reasons for me to worry (ie, my debt, my career choices) which also sucks the big hairies, but one thing at a time.

Yeah. Anxiety. Paying off my debt gave me a goal to work toward, which was excellent for keeping me distracted from both the big hot air balloon thinking and the worries, but now it's done. I've accomplished the goal. Since I'm just learning a new way of dealing with keeping my mind in this reality, I'm not accustomed to the concept of framing new goals to deal with when finished with one. And I've left it too long (memo to me: keep my goals sequential, or at least formulate a new one before accomplishing the first). So we're back to the anxiety again. It's a dreadful habit, really, and even though I'm trying, trying, trying to distract myself and give myself a new goal, I'm a) crap at it and b) fighting an ingrained habit while trying to use a very new skill.

(and if you can't tell how anxious I am by the circular nature of the preceeding, you really aren't paying attention)

So. Stop. Stop the circling, stop it, stop it right now! I have tons of things to do, whether I want to do them or not, so I can just stop it right. Now. For firstly, I have the Doctor Who scarf. I am setting myself a due date of November 1, which traditionally isn't even really fall yet in the Midwest, but with weather being what it has been of late, we might have three or four blizzards before then. But I have to finish the scarf, and I will set myself a goal of...I don't know. I've got 2/3 of the scarf to go, and November 1 is a month and a half away, which is, what, 8 weeks? 6? So I have to accomplish another 1/3 in three weeks, and the final third in the subsequent three. That's a lot of knitting, and I'll probably be certifiable by the time I finish up, but it's something.

I also need to take my yoga back up. All that deep belly breathing is excellent for keeping the mind centered and tethered.

If I had a better opinion of myself, I'd volunteer for something, although I'm not sure what. As I still have a deep-seated conviction that I'm somehow just eternally in everyone's way, I try to keep myself as far out of society as possible. I think I need to cut the edge before I can begin to think of volunteering, anyway--in this shape, I'd be snappish and surly, and who really would WANT anyone like that helping them out?

Oy. I do know that at present I need to avoid alcohol. It would be so easy to self-medicate in a bad way.....

  1. Doctor Who scarf by November 1
  2. Get on a schedule with cleaning my dog and performing routine maintenance on him--ears once a day, cleaning the claws twice a week, soaking the nasty toe every other day
  3. Learn how to cook meats in various ways, particularly fish
  4. Improve my diet to include more plants (I keep adding this one; but it is a good one)
  5. Take up yoga or some other form of exercise, three times a week, so I break a glow
  6. Plan a vacation because, hot damn, I need one badly
  7. Plan out various gifts for the holidays upcoming, both the ones to make and the ones to buy

Do you think that's enough to be starting with?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm such a rubbish blogger!

I attended the baby shower yesterday, with baby sweater and two kitchen cotton bibs (in lovely Sugar 'N Cream culinary colors: Weathered Rose--which is a rather antiqued rosey, creamish tanish colorway--and something I think is called Urban Pastels-lilac, white, dusty jade green and a buttery sunshine yellow), which, in a show of my crap abilities as a knit blogger, I completely neglected to photograph. Oh, dear. Blogger will revoke my license!

At least I got a before-ribbons picture of the sweater:

The ribbon was a slender pinkish ribbon with hearts and flowers along it. Very pretty. And I'm proud of the fact that it only took me two weeks to figure out how to work the sash/bow bit. I loved the finished sweater, I think the pattern is actually probably pretty simple for those who've already worked a raglan sweater, but the instructions were not written for someone like me, ie, the mentally challenged, newbie sweater knitter. I had quite the time figuring out how to get the sleeves on (thankfully, my coven was there for me), and the instructions for installing the ribbon tie were also written at a higher than first grade level. But I managed, and I feel quite proud of myself.

Anyway, it was lovely. The shower, the mother to be and all the rest, that is. I had to leave before the gifts were opened, but that's the risk you run when you try to cram a shower into three hours in a restaurant. There will always be an hour or two that you're trying to just get drinks served, much less anyone's salad or lunch. At least no one had to clean up that wasn't getting paid to do so, so it was a good afternoon all around.

On the knitting front, I keep trying new patterns for the alpaca yarn I scored at St. Mary's of the Woods on my birthday. I find myself...stymied. I finally realized what my design issue is: Once I've designed and knit the yarn, it's done. It's knitted up for good or ill, and there you go. Oh, you can frog, soak and reuse, but, well, it's like marriage. Once you've chosen someone, how do you know there won't be something better coming along? Something better suited to the materials at hand, as it were? And if you do undo what you've done, how do you know the new thing you're moving on to isn't worse than what you had before? How do you know that what you've got isn't the best thing on earth ever? And whatever path you choose, there's a whole lot of hard work and uphill slog that you're never quite sure is completely worth it.

That paragraph, there, will tell you a lot about why I (and most of my generation, btw) are still single. Impossible standards coupled with an overwhelming lack of confidence in our ability to navigate ourselves out of a paper bag (the ugly downside to over-involved parenting--you produce adults who never emotionally evolve into adults; mostly because the parents never let them suffer the consequences of their actions and therefore learn how to be responsible adults. Not that it's just the last generation's fault; this is a pattern that plays and replays and replays over and over and over. The next generation upcoming will grow up parenting themselves, be over-responsible, raise responsible adults who will spoil their children in an effort to have the soft, sweet childhood legend says you should have, who will grow up thinking their children are gods like they were, and so on and so forth until we all evolve into lizards and realize it's ok to cannibalize the young.)

So, in an effort to just grow the hell up already, if only in my knitting, I actually sat down this morning and reworked my stitch pattern choices yet again, although this time I actually typed it up and figured out how many stitches I will need to cast on and how the whole thing should go. I'll start up a test knit later, after my nap when I'm fresh and awake, and we'll see if I've got it right. I've decided to keep it simpler rather than more ornate (at one point, there was a serious contemplation of intarsia. God help me), doing long chunks of color over a geometric lace/knit pattern combo that evokes both the music and the orderly life of the convent and isn't so distracting that you don't get involved and wrapped up in the absolute fabulosity of the yarn itself. Then I'm going to try to find the instructions for an openwork woven fringe that I've seen somewhere, although Goddess help me recall where, and use that to continue the geometry beyond the knitted bits. It's still going to be narrow, still going to be long, it's just going to be...more about the yarn than the pattern, since the yarn is luscious and I enjoy it just wound up into the cakes as is.

So, now I've got a pattern. I think I've decided on a needle size (going down a few sizes, to keep the knit parts solid). I've got the yarn. Now I'm going to take my Sunday morning/afternoon nap and then cast on. Pray for me that my maths are correct, my pattern is as wonderful as I think it will be and that this time, I'll just take it as it comes and knit the darn scarf already!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Repetitive Knitting Injury

I've done myself up, I think, with all this knitting. The muscles in my left side, along the rib cage, under my biceps and the top of my arm are aching, pretty much constantly now. I think it's a repetitive knit injury because it really gets aggravated when I knit. What kind of out of shape am I that knitting can strain my muscles? Sheesh. But I've got one more baby bib left to do for my friend's shower tomorrow (yeah, nothing like waiting for the last minute), pinning down the ribbon and packing it all up. Actually, not all that much left to do, huzzah. Then I think I'll give myself a few days off the knitting, try to get my muscles to relax a bit. A shot of scotch would probably work admirably, but I'm trying not to make that a crutch. Oh, maybe a wee bit before bedtime....

Any. Way. I've been adding things to my "I've been a good girl and I get some pretty-pretties" mental cart lately. In addition to the stuff for my super seekrit project (which will probably be crap, knowing how I am) and needles, which will cost me about....$75, I've got my eyes on some beautiful hand-dyed silk laceweight at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Currently, the colorways that are winning the race are Faulty Dyer and Rook-y, although that is always subject to change at any given second. I like OmaDeSala, too, and Tide Pool, and, now that I ponder it, Scottish Highlands is awful nice as well. How is one to choose when all the colors are so beautiful?!?! Well, the fact that I'm buying silk will self-edit my choices; something like Chapman Springs would sear your retinas and boil the liquid in your eyeballs on silk. I mean, I'm using cobweb weight lace; on a worsted strand, you'd be arrested, and I imagine that even in the lightest weight yarn, in pattern, it would be distressing to most color-sighted persons. It's intense. But I love Rook-y, and Faulty Dyer has a rather Italian Renaissance vibe that appeals, and there's no saying that later on I can't get the occasional silken treat (particularly as they have beautiful colorways on large enough skeins for a good sized shawl for only $40, which is, like, bargain basement in silk anything) so I can be good and only get....

Oh, bugger. I'm going to have to get myself two, aren't I. So that's...$90 (after shipping), plus my $75, which is still only $165 on myself with the extra cash. Which is pretty restrained, for me.

One more week, and I will have money for myself, and can order my new 'toys', and the decision as to which colors I want will be made. Sigh. And I'll have some savings again, which makes me happy!