Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Charity squares -- check.

I managed to make seven charity blanket squares. That's, for the record, four more whole squares than I'd originally planned.

I so rock.

In other news, I leave tomorrow night to visit my friend in the next state over. I may or may not blog this weekend while vacating. I should -- I'm under obligation to blog at least three times per week -- but I'm not sure I will. I'm not even sure I'm going to answer e-mail all weekend long.

So, there, internet. See how dependent I am on you -- not! :-)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Half-way mark

Tonight I went to knit night. I admit, I've not been feeling the knitting mojo lately, and that's always a sad thing. But I still go every Monday -- if nothing else, it keeps me in contact with humanity at large. I wasn't feeling what I've got on the needles, so I asked the group what I should work on. The only vote I got was for the Loki scarf. So I worked on it.

And then I frogged everything I accomplished at the end of the night. My friend was right; mesh doesn't TINK. Thank the knitting goddesses that I use not one but two safety lines -- one where I stop for the night and one was left at the base of my mesh.  You know, just in case I find something way back that I missed the first time. So I only lost seven repeats of mesh -- 28 rows. When you only have 21 stitches, that's not all that much.

Still and all, I got home and was waiting for Castle to start and decided to try again. I mean, there was nothing to do until 10 but knit, so...

I got everything I'd done at knit group and frogged re-done, and more. You'll notice, too, that the rescue line at the base of the mesh is gone. Where did it go?

I moved it up. I measured tonight and I'm at my half-way point. Half-way through the entire scarf.

Good Lord, y'all. I never realized how tiresome mesh can become! But at least I'm on the downhill side of the scarf, and there's more beadwork to look forward to, so maybe now that I can just...fold over the scarf to check my progress vis a vis the mesh, I'll be moving along more quickly. If nothing else, I can now see how many more repeats I've got, and just having a number is a great relief.

Of course, when I get to the beading section, the knitting will slow right down again, but that's just to be expected. The last few rows before the center and the last few rows before the bind off warp time so that they actually take longer to knit than anything that came before.

Oh, well. I'm closer! That's what counts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things I want to do because I just want to.

1. Crochet. I've written several articles about crochet, people, and I never, ever get an edit requested on them. I should actually, you know, crochet something sometime.

2. Finger knitting. Ditto. Plus I have some nice yarn that would make a lovely braided scarf.

3. Cables. I've designed my own stuff and I've never actually done a cable. I know how they're done, and I'm not really afraid of them, I've just never gotten around to a project that had a cable. Probably because cables add bulk and if there's one thing I don't need it's additional bulk.

4. Knit-on edging. I'm unreasonably afraid of this technique, but I don't know why. And I'll need to know how to do it if I'm ever do make the patterns I truly love out of Victorian Lace Today. My favorite knitporn.

5. Knit a sweater. I say this all the time, and I never do it. I think in my head I'm thinking I should wait until I lose weight. But honestly -- will I? Why don't I just accept my chub and get on with knitting on the sweater? I need to keep warm no matter what, and God knows I've got enough yarn for sixty sweaters in my stashtainer. Might as well just go for it.

Maybe I'll make a boyfriend sweater (read: big and boxy) with cables, edging that's partially knit on and partially crochet, with a finger knit accent bow. Get all five out of the way in one go!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Things I should be doing but am not.

Working. Eating dinner. Researching other freelance opportunities.

What am I doing? Uploading pictures from the walk I took yesterday. But look, look!

 This was the prettiest red leaf on that tree. One or two others were trying, but they couldn't quite cut it. Sorry, leaves. Try harder.

 I love the gold color of these leaves. Once upon a time, back when I was more emo than I am today, I wrote a very sappy free-verse poem about these leaves and the fans dropped when the fair folk left the dance. You can see why. You can also see why, I'm sure, I gave up on the poetry.

 Every leaf on this tree had the same pattern of gold/brown edging. I wonder if the trees co-ordinate themselves in fall, or if it's just dumb luck?

And my favorite picture of all:

A combination of bad angle and dirty finger touching the lens made this image possible. It almost looks like I've filtered it, out there on the edges. But I didn't. Just a lucky shot!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weird things on the street.

Bamboo. In a local neighborhood. And you can't see it, but on the other side of that fence is a veritable forest of bamboo.

Someone's all highlands of China up in here. I wonder if they've got a pet panda, too.

I'm doing a little better today, since I went walking with one of my best friends this morning. We dragged her poor children all over that neighborhood while we chattered on like a couple of monkeys, then went to lunch. This is my regular Wednesday schedule, but somehow it makes the day that much better. If only I could get the same sort of happiness hit every day. It lasted me so long, I even got work done today. Real, for-pay type work. I'm going to log off here and do some knitting, too.

Whoo. Hold me back, kids, I'm just going wild.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And that's Numberwang!

I become convinced life is a game of Numberwang (look at the top of the first section, Recurring Sketches, for an explanation if you aren't a Mitchell and Webb fan). I guess that means I've got as good a chance as anyone else for winning.

In knitting news, I managed to get some extra squares done for my charity knitting project. I'm now up to four complete squares, with a fifth on the needles. I should be able to finish it tonight.

Considering I never thought I'd finish up the three I'd planned, I think I'm smoking on this project. Granted, it's about all I'm cooking with gas on this month. In other matters, I'm so hosed it's not even funny. Again, I do the hosing (self-hosing, heh), so I can't blame anyone. I'm not sure if that makes me feel any better or not.

Maybe it should make me feel better. Giving up the victim mentality is the first step to taking control of your life and choices and therefore being able to take responsibility for your successes as well.

I won't bore you with a recitation of my work life -- God knows it bores me to tears -- but suffice to say I've got wonked out priorities. I'm having trouble making my non-fiction word counts (I'm going to have to bust some sass tomorrow in order to catch up on what I should have done this week), but I'm working hard on my fiction.

That, too, should be consolation of a sort. I may not be doing the right writing, but at least I'm writing. Surely that counts for something?

Friday, September 16, 2011


This is almost literally a visual metaphor for my life right now. Tangled up blankets, tangled up skein, empty soft, squishy chair waiting. Just...waiting. I know I get this way periodically, but I dunno. Today I'm just a bit burnt out on myself. Things are strange up in here, and by "up in here" I mean in my head. Sigh. Maybe I should be getting more sleep or more protein or whatever, but I just can't find any enthusiasm for just about anything lately. Well, aside from knitting, which I have precious little time for anymore.

Maybe that's my problem: I'm fiber deficient.

Anyway, I decided to splurge a little and feed myself amply (if not entirely well) by gorging on pizza at my favorite pizza place tonight. So I called in an order (and got my mother a salad, too, I wasn't being completely greedy) and hie'd me off to fetch yon cheesy goodness, and this is what I found:

Little claw-feet yarn bombs on the benches outside the restaurant. Awwww. You might not be able to tell (or this may be the wrong shot), but one set of them (there are two benches) is sparkly.

That did make my day, you know. Sparkly dino-claws on benches. I feel a bit better about the world for that.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rocking on the charity squares

It's on a dishtowel because there was grease or something on the yarn that I had to wash out. It washed, so I'm not upset. I've got my third square cast on and I'm going to work on it tonight as I watch some television. I may get my target of three squares done by the 30th after all!

We're waiting on storms here, but while we're waiting I decided to hop on and make a small post. I've done nothing else today that remotely qualifies as "working" or even "writing". Or, frankly, anything. I went walking with my friend, discussed the trials of being a mother to a toddler and a newborn at one time (yikes, she's nuts) and then went to lunch. I got lazy after and went to get cat food and treats and pasta (for me) with my mom when I got home, then made some dinner.  Nothing too exhausting.

Now I'm just sitting here, digesting and feeling a bit disgusted with myself that I've not accomplished anything today -- other than socializing, which is, for me, actually quite a big deal. Just three years ago, I had very few friends and spent even less time with them. So I suppose I shouldn't be too cranky about not doing for-pay work, I did get out of the house with someone not family. That's an accomplishment of sorts.

And I suppose I should quit writing. I had a glass of wine with dinner and now I'm a bit...loopy. I'm sure this post makes about no sense whatsoever. But at least my back doesn't hurt anymore. Again, I suppose that's an accomplishment of sorts!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The scariest thing I think I've ever seen in person.

I went off to my knit group tonight, not at all expecting more excitement than usual. But it was not to be as soothing an experience as it usually is. The apartments across the street from our little cafe caught fire about ten minutes before I got there -- meaning that by the time I arrived, it was a conflagration. And in the next five minutes, I watched huge, brilliantly orange flames shoot skyward as they ate the front and roof off the unit and then jumped the parking lot and started chewing on a second unit. I don't think I've ever seen anything half so horrifying in person. The speed with which the flames moved across the roof, the color, everything about the sight was designed to trigger my central nervous system to put distance between me and It. I admit, I stood by my car for a moment and watched before the way the front of the building began disintegrating in the orange glow disturbed me into backing off, but my retreat was a fairly speedy one. I did not muck about outdoors but headed into the cafe as soon as I noticed the wood of the balcony turning a mottled black.

Strikingly, there were plenty of people who didn't find the sight as frightening as I did and actually stopped their cars on the street to rubber-neck (in the middle of the street, I might add, like, where the moving traffic goes), crossed the street on foot to get a better view, and several people stood along the side of the street taking pictures. One woman with two small girls stood close to the street taking pictures with her cell phone and all I could think was Way to set an example, lady -- someone could be dying in there!

Am I the only person who thinks taking pictures of someone else's misfortune and possible death is vulgar? Maybe. Whatever else it is, it was a major time-suck, as it took at least ten minutes to put the big flames out, longer to get rid of the little smoldery flames and then even longer still to knock out walls and take down the rest of the roof and clean up and write reports and such. All the trucks (at least 10; it was amazing) were still there when I left the cafe two hours later. Which is, if you know anything about the process of dealing with house fires, unsurprising. There is a lot of administration and subsequent paperwork that go into fires.

(Addendum: I just found the article on the fire and no one died. Some people inhaled some nasty smoke and several families lost their homes, but no one died. Praise God.)

I am not an adrenaline junkie, I don't like roller coasters, horror movies or super fast cars. Well, maybe I do like fast cars, when I'm driving. I understand that there are some people on this planet who live for the little frill of adrenaline that goes around your kidneys and up your spine when you see or experience scary things. I have never understood this. Never. I don't understand the phrase "fun-scary" -- to me, there is no such thing. There is "fun" and there is "scary", but the two do not intersect. I do not get the concept of fear as fun. Fear shouldn't be fun -- if it's fun sometimes, how do you know when it's supposed to be serious? Perhaps it's my past, perhaps it's just my nature, but I don't enjoy horrific scenes of destruction or thrill rides designed to mimic an out of control train or dating American-Style (which always trips my stranger-danger sensors because you're sitting at a table with a stranger who's trying to look down your blouse -- how is this fun or interesting or just not creepy as hell?) so, yes, perhaps I'm a weenie for finding a fire frightening, but I don't think it's entirely unnatural. I felt the fear almost as if I were in the apartments, not across the street. Fire is a very hungry monster, and this one was taller than the trees around it.

Anyway, after the excitement died down (and I'd sat down with my back to the windows), I managed to accomplish something tonight:
 A square! Squeeee! And it's actually square -- 6" by 6". Seed stitch, my favorite. I'm so unreasonably pleased that I got the first square done that I promptly sat back down and started up a second:

in the lighter blue. This one will be garter stitch; dull, uninspiring and (hopefully) quick. I want to finish three squares before the end of September -- that's when my knit-along ends. Between the teeth and the baby and the not-being-able-to-sleep (which I haven't bothered you about, but lately I just can't fall asleep at night -- I hope I'm not discovering my inner insomniac again, insomnia sucks big time), I haven't knitted anything. I haven't, frankly, done much of anything at all.

Hopefully, this square will reverse that trend. I can't let this lassitude catch hold, so tonight -- after I knit a few more rows to settle myself down again -- I'm going to take a Mommy's Little Helper (or maybe I'll try using my wine; the buzz doesn't last as long, but I just need it to last long enough for me to get to sleep) and try to get some rest. God willing and the creek don't rise, I'll be functional enough tomorrow to get some heavy-duty work done on the day!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Last of the summer wine....

Well, not really. Just almost the last of my birthday presents has finally rolled in. I'm waiting on one more, but as I a) know what it is and b) get a vacation out of the fetching of it, I'm not all that chuffed about its arrival.

Here is what I got this week:

 Actually, my friend gave me cash money instead of a gift -- there was a bit of chaos in our lives this past month, and if she'd actually gotten me a gift, it probably would have been destroyed in horrific fashion. So much better done this way, really. That's an image of two skeins of Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk in a stinkin' hot blue color and a bottle of my favorite wine. Mmmm, sweet wine. I love it like buttah. I've already cracked into it, actually -- not while knitting, of course, that lesson I've learned in ages past -- and will be having another glass again tonight with dinner. Good for the cardiovascular, you understand. And, to be honest, my jaw. The internal bruising and swelling has (for the most part) receded, but there's some leftover tenderness and muscular tightness from the whole bollywoggle still going on. So I take a glass in the name of medicine every night to relax my jaws a bit.

Don't knock it, it works.

And here's a close-up of my supah-swanky yarn:
Isn't it beautiful? I had the shop wind it up for me, and since I've got 874 yards of it, I'm pretty glad I did. Fingering weight, silk and superwash blend. I'm thinking shawl, if I can find a stitch pattern I like passing fair, or maybe use someone else's pattern. Gasp! Me, use a pattern?!?!

I know, I can hardly credit that myself. But it's been known to happen, and quite often for proof of concept projects so I can see how they work and figure them out before I make up my own ride.

Don't be looking for a shawl out of this anytime soon, though. I've got a project queue about sixty miles long, and I'm stalled out on Little Loki. All my excitement for the bead work has exhausted itself in the tedium of miles of left-leaning mesh. It's a wonderful project for those nights when I'm not sure I feel quite like knitting on something I have to think much about, but not so much for long-haul knitting. It's a bit...tiring, really. Oh, I still love it and I'm looking forward immensely to having the thing finished, blocked and on my person, but I'm bored of mesh.

Oooh. I've got some worsted weight silk/merino yarn wanting to be turned into a shawl, too, somewhere in my stashtainer. Maybe a simpler shawl pattern will work for me.

Hmmmm. I must go have a think now. Between Loki and the other projects I've got going, I need a warm pattern that's fairly mindless. And I need to make my mother a new scarf for the winter, but that's neither here nor there right now. She can borrow one of mine, if needs must. Until I finish hers.

See what I mean? Sixty miles long. If I got paid, that right there would be job security!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My phobias

People who know me know I have several phobias. Some of them are reasonable: bats, clowns, small, creepy children in nightgowns singing songs in high-pitched voices. Some of my phobias are a little less reasonable: wind turbines -- the kind on wind farms -- architectural statuary and large glass buildings. There's a bit of a trend in those last three, apparently I dislike things that loom suddenly out of nowhere over me. Maybe not so unreasonable, then, but still. You try telling people you dislike big statues because they frighten you a little. Apparently, it's the pinnacle of my personal weird. Granted, saying my fear of architectural statuary is the pinnacle of my weird is sort of a statement along the lines of it's a very special drop of water in an ocean, but there you have it.

I would like to say that the phobia only applies to human statues. I have no problems with giant space widgets or animal statues or free-form metallic things that turn gently in the breeze. Those are ok by me. Giant people with odd proportions because they're designed to be viewed from fifty feet below...creeptastic.

They've cleaned up the Soldier's and Sailors Monument in downtown Indianapolis, including the giant bronze statue of Victory that traditionally stands atop it. Despite the fact I dislike huge human statues, I figured she might not be so hard for me to gaze upon at ground level -- she's all wrapped up in a box and wires and ropes and chains and hooked up to a big crane so she can't get me. I saddled up, invested in the gas and went to town.

She was supposed to be flying back up to her natural perch this morning, but the winds were too strong, so I had some time to get some photos in. I wasn't sure what sort of reaction I'd have to Victory up close, but I thought there would be other people there and witnesses always keep me from freaking out visibly in public. I was a bit surprised, to tell the truth, at how few people there were there aside from the construction workers loitering around the crane waiting for the wind to die down. Aside from the workers, there were maybe 20 people there. Part of the sidewalk was blocked off for safety, so in order to get around to the back of her I had to circle all the way around -- and then when I got there I discovered they'd taken the tapes down to open the sidewalk. Oh, well, at least I got some exercise.

I was also surprised by my reaction: She is Beauty Incarnate:

The grace of her lines, the elegance of the draping of her gown...her face is beautiful. Such glory designed to sit on top of a giant plinth, however many yards over the casual observers' heads.

Criminal. But beautifully criminal. I can't believe all that pretty sits all that way up there, so far from her admirers.

I'm glad I got to see her, though, up close and personal. How often does that happen?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Radio Silence

I've been busy this past week. I wish I could say I've done actual work, but alas. My friend went and had her baby (aka my Godson -- someone is making me the Godmother of their child) and I've had to take care of the Big Brother for a few days. He's a good kid, but, well. He's two.

Anyone who knows kids knows exactly what that means. If nothing else, the experience has broken the slightly broody mood I've been in the past few years. If I can't hack two days of little/no sleep, dealing with a cranky child at 6:45 in the morning while in mild dental pain, I'm not cut out for Mommy Duty. I'm such a wuss. I think I'll keep my 7am wake up hour, though. That 6 o'clock is for the birds. And toddlers.

Sigh, moving on...I've been lazy all week. It's amazing how not eating solid food for seven full days will take it out of you, you know? So I have decided to just take the whole week off this week (no worries, I can do that) and rest, relax and completely recuperate. Although I had my follow up exam today and was told that I'm healing "better than (they're) used to seeing". Take that, mean people who thought I'd have big problems for being old! I healed up nicely and quickly -- the resident was surprised that I wasn't feeling quite so bruised today. And he says my clots are "beautiful." See, it's not just a consolation statement for the physically unattractive, it's true: everyone has different standards of beauty!

I came right home and ate the pizza I didn't get to eat at my birthday party last Sunday. It felt good. Now I want a beverage I get to drink through a straw. shudder The pleasures of non-post-recovery living!

I'll post more tomorrow. After I've slept a bit and gotten some pictures together and have two thoughts to rub together that aren't about "Oooh, solid food! I want some solid fooooood!"