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what am I doing here?

in which susan proceeds to get caffienated and knit all day. if only I could get paid to drink coffee and knit... that would so be the shiz-knit.

can't help myself 8.30.2006 |

I know I went on and on a while back about knitting selfishly. I really hope that one day I can achieve purely selfish knitting. but for now, I just don't think I have the discipline to do it. it's going to take a lot more training. and we've already established that I'm probably too lazy for training of any kind.

I don't know what it is, but I feel so compelled to knit things for other people all the time. like all the time. constantly. maybe because I feel like it gives me some sort of purpose in life. I noticed all my languishing FOs are all for myself or for isa. poor isa! I love the idea of knitting for her, but I have really poor follow-through. I hope she doesn't feel too neglected.

so the fetching you see above is actually for my mom. her birthday is coming up in a few weeks. I actually started this one weeks ago, but then got distracted by orangina. and then poncherello. and then the dinos and the socks... fetching was not originally intended to be a birthday gift. they were supposed to be a 'just cuz' summertime gift since I never make anything for my mom either. oh, the slacking is never ending around here!

anyhow, this is a very gratifying knit purely for the speed. I could probably crank the second one out tonight if I really tried, actually. you know what was weird, tho? as I was knitting last night, I was pulling yarn from the middle of the ball and it got all stuck, so I figured it just got wound around itself as yarn is prone to doing, so I gave it a few good tugs, but to no avail. so I ended up pulling out a chunk and trying to detangle it. and what did I find?two little pieces of yarn just crammed into the middle! what is this? what are these for? why are they here? are they considered part of the yardage of this ball? if they are, I'm a little concerned, since the pattern uses an entire ball of debbie bliss cashmerino aran, which has two yards more than the knitpicks andean silk that I'm using. I was already paranoid about not having enough yarn, so to make myself feel a little better, I did one less row in the hand part and another row less after the final cable row. I also did a regular bind-off instead of the picot bind-off the pattern wanted me to (which I didn't really like anyway). I really really hope I have enough for the second one... oh, the paranoia!

and then there were two 8.26.2006 |

oh, what an exciting weekend I had! actually, it wasn't all that exciting. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. it was nice to have a nice "normal" weekend, with nowhere to go, no one to see... just me dragging isa around with me as I ran errands and shopped for things we probably don't really need and lazing around the house when we got tired of running around.

friday night, I was watching dirty jobs, as usual, after isa was in bed. it's always entertaining, but this week's was especially great because our very own mike rowe went to an alpaca farm! here! in northern california! I was not aware there was an alpaca farm here in northern california (I'm sure there are tons), but aside from actually going myself, the best way to see an alpaca farm is through the dirty jobs lens. mike even spun alpaca fiber! I was way geeking out. also, pre-shearing alpacas are super cute. post-shearing, they are really ridiculous looking. poor guys. their necks are so skinny. like ostrich necks. haha. did you know they didn't have any upper teeth? just lower ones. I feel so edumacated.

so, we've all seen those knit bags they're selling at target now. but now they're also selling slippers! look at these things. $5.99! seriously, people. the knitting. it's everywhere. which is a good thing. because that means these guys are going to fit right in.
that's right! in the midst of my non-activity packed weekend, I managed to finish the crooked cable socks for my future sis-in-law. the second sock went off with no incident, until I got to the tubular bind-off, which probably shouldn't be done while watching the emmys. I realized that I must have bound the second or third stitch off the wrong way (after I'd done about 15 stitches) because it was coming out all wrong and off-set. taking out a tubular bind off is very very un-fun. my head is still throbbing.
pattern: crooked cable socks, by sockbug
yarn: knitpicks essential sock yarn in the pumpkin colorway, roughly 3/4 skein per sock
needles: knitpicks 32" us1 circulars
finished: august 27, 2006
notes: I pretty much just used the chart for this pattern. I didn't even really read the rest of it, but I think it was for cuff-down, but I did it toe-up magic loop, using a magic cast-on, sherman heel and a tubular bind-off. the instep was 2.5 repeats and the leg was 2. I did five rows of k1p1 ribbing for the cuff. the pattern was so easy to memorize, yet looks so "fancy" (as my brother called them). the yarn was nice and soft, but I had a lot of splittiness issues. I feel like it might have been made worse by the extra pointiness of the needles, actually. this was also the first time I cabled without a cable needle and the extra pointiness was great for that.

my very second pair of socks! also, I finally got to use my poorman's sock blockers. whee!

dinos! 8.22.2006 |

"lemme out! lemme out!"
"what's going on? I can't see! I can't move! is this a cruel joke?""hey! what are these? do we eat them?"
"oh... that's better. look at us! we can run and play!""whee!! goodbye, cruel world - we're moving to san diego!"

I made these little cuties for my friend's son's first birthday. they are much more loveable now that they're not in little pieces scattered around the couch in my family room, begging for me to sew them up. I managed to get them all stuffed and seamed last night, finally. I think the sheer desire to get these guys out of my life forever so I can work on something else is what motivated me to finish them as fast as possible. also, they're a week late.

pattern: xtreme-knitting dinos
yarn: lily sugar n cream in three blinding colors, probably less than 1/2 a skein for each dino
needles: susan bates us7 aluminum straights
finished: august 21, 2006

notes: this yarn was no fun to work with. especially with the susan bates! ugh! I thought I was going to burn a hole in my finger, it was so rough to knit. but it actually washed up a lot softer and makes for a good, durable feeling toy. the only modifications I made (except for the yarn substitution) was making the legs shorter on bronty and stegs. this was not really a design element so much as I was so sick of knitting legs, I thought I could make them shorter and finish them faster. I actually like the shorter legs better, though! I kind of wish I'd made them short on trice too. anyway, I'm happy with these guys and I'm hoping they'll make a little boy in san diego happy too.

newsflash! susan still cannot count 8.21.2006 |

I forced myself to finish the dino legs this weekend. unfortunately, I just kept knitting and knitting legs and legs and legs... and, well... I'm not entirely sure how this happened.
yeah. that's one leg's worth of knitting time I'm never getting back. *sigh*

moving on... I visited a lys yesterday that I'd never been to before. they were having a big ole sale on the already clearanced stuff. everything already on sale was only $3! I didn't go nuts, though... but I did get two skeins of swtc oasis (soysilk) for $3 each to make lotus blossom from the summer '06 ik. except, for me, this will likely be for summer '07, since it is entirely impossible for me to even think about starting this anytime before winter shows up around these parts. I also picked up some yarn for another baby gift (when will it ever end??), which was not on sale.

anyway, the owner was really nice and her daughter was also there to distract isa from trying to eat cashmere (but no one was there to stop me from eating it! ha!) by letting her play with the toy cars they had, which was great. every yarn store should come with an on-call babysitter and a box full of toys. she didn't have a huge selection, but I was rather impressed by the entire shelf filled with cherry tree hill yarns. I think she had most (if not all) of the yarns they make. I definitely would have gone to town on the supersock if I hadn't already gotten some last week... it was definitely an exercise in self control.

oh! also. they sell those clear clogs! which would be fun for showing off cute socks, except they're not really that cheap and I don't think I'm a clog person... but they were exciting enough for me to stop a moment and actually consider getting some. maybe I'll become a clog person someday. or not.

well, with any luck, dino pieces should be dry (they're taking a trip in the dryer right now) when I get home tonight and I can stuff and piece them together. we'll see if I can't get some dino action up here on this blog in the next day or two. rowr!

0 (zero) interesting content ahead 8.18.2006 |

nothing exciting is going on. this week is just about as bland as ever. *yawn* I'm not even entirely sure why I'm posting anything, except I'm so bored, I'm not quite sure what else to do.

there has been minimal knitting action around these parts. I've only completed a measly 3 legs out of 12 for the dinos I'm making for my friend's son, whose birthday was yesterday... I might be a bit late on this one. I did some preliminary seaming on the other body parts, though. and my future sis-in-law's sock is pretty much the way it looked when I got off the plane on sunday night. are you asleep yet? I'm about there myself.

I've had a few project ideas floating around in my head - yes, in addition to the long list of unfinisheds I have hanging around my house, like the nerdy kids at a middle school dance, hoping (oh the hope! oh the misguided, hopeless hope!) that someone (who? me?) will choose them and take them for a spin for one glorious night. except that I think I am that nerdy kid...

also, I have all the other things that I've almost started, but haven't really, like fetching for my mom and the debbie bliss hoodie I posted about a few posts back and this new, slightly risky, potentially disastrous crazy idea I have that involves paton's classic merino, a washing machine, probably a calculator and also all the hair that will most likely be pulled from my head. among other things.

and, before I totally lose you, here's a funny episode* from this weekend, when I left isa with my parents while I went off to boston. isa's just started becoming aware of her *ahem* bodily functions, which makes for some interesting conversations. usually along these lines:

isa: poopoo
adult: what?
isa: poopoo
adult: you have to -- ?
isa: eeeerrrrghhhh....!!
adult: oh...
isa: poopoo

this time, my mom was getting isa ready for her bath. she (isa, not my mom) was doing her usual happy run around the bathroom naked, when:

isa: peepee!
grandma: what? peepee?
isa: peepee!! peepee!! (pees on floor)
grandma: !!!

after the whole peepee thing is cleaned up, isa's soaking happily in the bathtub. all of a sudden, she gets really serious, looks my mom right in the eye, and:

isa: poopoo
grandma: !!!

needless to say, my mom finished that bath up really fast. with no incident. but man, was she scared! haha! poor grandma.

*an apology to those who prefer not to read "my baby is so cute" stories... I don't do this often, tho, so I think I'm entitled just this once!

there and back in 48 hours flat 8.14.2006 |

it was a whirlwind trip to boston this weekend for me. it was so fast, I can scarcely remember it. that could also be due to the non-sleep I managed to get on the way there and/or the open bar. whatever is impairing my already wounded memory doesn't really matter, I guess. I know I had fun, the weather was completely fabulous, the bride and groom were both radiant, there was laughing, there was crying, there was food, there was drink, there were good friends, and there was sock.I somehow managed to finish the first of two crooked cable socks (and feebly begin the second) I'm attempting to complete for my brother's fiancee's birthday gift. I need to concurrently complete my time machine to get this to her in time. I realize, though, that the longer it takes me to finish the socks, the farther back in time I'm going to have to travel, so this is a really tricky situation. I'll be seeing her labor day weekend, though, so I suppose that's my current deadline if I don't manage to get back to the beginning of august. it can be done. I am sure of it.

so I landed in boston at 7am on saturday morning, where I met up with tiffholio, who had valiantly flown in at 530am and slept in baggage claim while waiting for me. my brother, who lives in cambridge, picked us up and whisked us to a nice greasy breakfast at mike's city diner on the southside of boston. then it was back to his house to nap/knit/shower/get dressed/wait for our ride and then head off to the wedding.

inbetween the ceremony and reception, we had some time to kill and so a big group of us found ourselves being magnetically drawn to peet's to get ourselves caffeinated enough to make it through the reception. there, my friend elaine and I met the two sweetest, funniest, down to earthest, charmingest little old ladies who touted the glories of retirement and grandmotherhood. they were a blast to talk to and laugh with and it is too bad we don't actually live in boston, because it would be a hoot to join them the 5 days out of the week they spend chatting and sipping coffee and generally enjoying life down at peet's. later on, elaine and I would promise each other that we would be that cute and full of life and make young women giggle and look forward to their seventies and eighties when we got to be their age. meeting those two ladies was probably the highlight of my weekend. a close second was spending the night here:after a painfully sleepless redeye flight on top of a full day of partying in boston, sleeping for a solid 10 hours in this bed was indeed heavenly. I loved every tiny little moment of it, even though I don't technically remember it. I haven't slept 10 hours in one night since isa was born. mmm... sleep... oh how I miss you...

the next morning, as we checked out of the hotel, I realized that there was no way we were going to be able to grab lunch with my brother and make it to a yarn shop without missing my flight (for which I had to get to the airport 2-3 hours in advance). I was pretty bummed, but convinced myself I was going to survive, when, over lunch, my brother casually says "did I already mention this weekend is tax-free?" as in nothing has sales tax. nothing. all weekend. he says this a mere hour before we have to catch our flights! all the yarn in all of boston was tax-free! and I couldn't get to it! because of the terrorists! damn you, terrorists!! I tried not to sob outloud at the restaurant and instead chose to drown my sorrows over some dessert.

I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures... my mind was really in no place to be forming coherent thoughts and/or remember to take out my camera and it wasn't until today that I regretted not getting pictures of the cute little old ladies or the tasty ice cream or even my brother and his roommate's crazy huge 1400lb concrete argentinian barbeque oven thing that he built in their backyard. trust me, though. it was all very very exciting. and, hey, I guess I do remember a good amount of the weekend afterall. go figure.

come fly with me 8.11.2006 |

maybe it's more like come cry with me... it's been almost a year since the last time I've flown anywhere. I'm going to boston for a short visit - just over 30 hours - for a friend's wedding tonight and am really not looking forward to it. the flight, that is. the wedding, I'm totally looking forward to. it's going to be party party party all weekend long! woohoo! also, I get to see my brother. what fun!

but those darn terrorists have gone and ruined my dinner plans tonight. my flight doesn't depart until 11pm, but now they're telling me that I have to be there at 8. which means I have to leave my house around 7. which means no time for my previously scheduled dinner. so sad... I'm probably going to end up eating a cinnabon. the terrorists are also making me check my luggage and taking away my right to take out my contacts mid-flight.

but enough of my whining! I got to do what I love best last night. and no, it's not knitting - I suppose I might love knitting more, but this is what I loved first - before I even had my first whiff of a skein of yarn... yes! it's packing! (no, not packing heat.) it's sick and twisted, I know, but I love packing. packing mountains of stuff into a teeny space makes me giddy enough to make a trained professional consider having me committed.

but, man, I love making lists of what I need to pack and what I need to do and what I need to do with the things I need to pack... and then crossing those things off as I pack them away. sadly, since my trip is so short this time, I don't really have all that much to take along and there is quite a bit of empty space in my bag. so I needed a challenge and I needed to pack up my in-flight knitting needs! so I made my list and started gathering just the essentials. I didn't want to accidentally bring too much stuff. nothing like being loaded down with unnecessary items. and here is what I came up with:clockwise, from the left: the pattern for crooked cable socks by sockbug, the tubular bind-off page from the knitting answer book (sometimes you just need one page - this is why God made scotch tape), knitty's magic toe up cast-on tutorial, my little green knitting bag containing two skeins of knitpicks essential sock yarn - one of which is attached to a pair of knitpicks circulars and the beginnings of a crooked cable sock, hipknitism's sherman heel tutorial chart, a pen, a darning needle, a crochet hook, dpns (just in case), a tape measure and a clover yarn cutter. (as you can see, I need all the help I can get. I can never remember how to do anything without a piece of paper telling me what to do.) I hope I didn't forget anything important.

and here's everyone inside the bag, ready to go:
after I took the photo, I realized I should bring something to read and/or listen to, just in case I don't have enough elbow room to knit (how sad would that be??), so I managed to cram in my copy of knitting rules and an ipod full of good knitting music. with room to spare! now all I've left to do is pray the terrorists don't take away my right to knit on the plane. actually, they should just stay away from airports in general. they're too crowded anyway, right?

*ps. I got a cute new bag at target a couple days ago. see it up there? I love it! it's big and floppy and was only $16. whee!

oreos... mmm... 8.10.2006 |

I used to be good at math (way back in the 1900s). now, I spend the vast majority of my daily allowance of brain power trying to figure out how to best get an oreo out of the package without getting crumbs all over the table. perhaps the fact that I'm munching away on some oreo-goodness right now might explain why I can't seem to get my head around making this debbie bliss pattern less stupid.

I know, I know - everyone knows - that debbie bliss patterns are notorious for making things more complicated than necessary (altho, very cute!). which is why I thought I was quite brilliant when I said to myself, silently, in my head, "dude! I'm smart enough to make this thing easy as pie! and less seams!" in theory, yes... in reality, not so much.

I think I'm getting it, though, and I think I just need to start (with fingers crossed and knocking on wood) and know that what I seem incapable of putting into words or numbers or pictures, I can make happen with needles and yarn. I want to make this thing seamless, working the front and back in the round up to the 'pits, then working the front and back pieces flat and then joining the shoulders with a three needle bind off, leaving the remaining stitches live to work the hood. because, hello, in the long run, wouldn't that make it easier?

I think I'm just trying to work through the details too fast, though, because I know what I want, but just can't get it down on paper right now. I envision lots of frogging, maybe a little cursing, but, if things work out the way I think they can, I think I'm really going to like this.

someone please remind me that I need to swatch first, please. in all my excitement, there is a pretty good possibility that I'm going to forget. and also, please, no silly questions about why I'm starting on something that is so obviously for me when I keep talking about how I've got all this other stuff to do... I'll have plenty of time to work on birthday gifts while standing in the security line at sfo friday night. *sigh*

in the dark 8.09.2006 |

I finally decided to take a break from my selfish knitting and get back to my guilt inflicted gift making. I'm getting close to finishing knitting the pieces (trying really hard not to think about the seaming... oh, god! the seaming!!!) for my friend's baby's first birthday present. I was a little unsure if I should mention what it is, but I have a feeling she hasn't been reading here, so I'm going to risk it.

I'm making these guys. so cute! and actually, they should have been done a long time ago, but they've all been sitting in a plastic bag, legless, for a while now. I decided to use what little knitting time I had last night to finally make bronty's head/neck, since he's been sitting around headless and legless for over a month. all both of the others have heads built right into their bodies and I'm sure he felt just a little self conscious about this. (which one of these is not like the others?)

so, I grab the neon green yarn for bronty, and there I am, happily knitting away (well, not so happily, because I stupidly decided to use my cheapo susan bates aluminum straights with sugar 'n' cream cotton madness and it is a really, really unpleasant experience) on the couch, watching frasier, when out of nowhere, the lights dim, the tv flickers and then it goes totally black. so now, I'm less happily knitting away, not watching frasier, in the dark, wondering how I'm going to finish when I can't read the pattern. then I remember that I have flashlights and candles and manage to get it finished. I even did my first three needle bind-off in the semi-dark!

I was quite excited to only have a bunch of legs left to do, so I decided to pull out all the dino pieces I'd already completed just to make sure I wasn't missing anything else. I realized, right then, that this was something I should have done before making the bronty head. because! I'm an idiot! bronty is blue, not green! I then succeeded in uttering several unladylike things and considered just letting him have a green head in a moment (just a moment this time) of laziness, then proceeded to rip that little green head apart in about 2 seconds. *sigh* I'll be making another bronty head tonight - in blue this time.

I'm sorry I have no pictures! I had thought that I could take pictures because, well, cameras operate on batteries and I could still take pictures! but then I realized that I probably needed light, too. then I thought, well, at least I can catch up on some blog reading because my computer also runs on batteries! yay! but then, wait... my wireless router needs power to give me internetiness.

what a disappointing evening. at least it's wednesday. the week is, thankfully, half over! hopefully tomorrow will bring less ranting and more raving. and not in the raving lunatic sense. because I do that everyday, regardless of what happens.

edited to add: what the heck is this?! why would a magazine publish a picture of a dog wearing a sweater and humping a pumpkin? there is something so dirty about this...

erik estrada ain't got nothin' on me 8.07.2006 |

remember ponch? chips was one of my favorite shows growing up. my dad actually has some great super8 footage of my brother, me, and our friends riding our bikes around the neighborhood, with the chips theme song playing in the background. anyway, ponch was pretty awesome, but he wasn't made out of bamboo. but I decided to pay him a bit of homage anyway and name my latest FO poncherello (sorry for the awful pictures):
pattern: cool hemp ponchette
yarn: southwest trading company bamboo in black, 1.5 skeins
needles: crystal palace US9 straights
size after blocking: 15" x 48"
finished: august 6, 2006

notes: so easy! I really like this bamboo yarn - it knits up into a nice drapey, shiny fabric. it also blocked out really nicely and dried in just a few hours. oh, also, the row gauge in this yarn was quite a bit off from the hemp yarn the pattern called for, so I ended up doing a few extra repeats to get the right size. otherwise, there isn't much to say, really... just that it was easy and super fast and I am very happy with the finished product. I'll definitely be taking this with me to the wedding I'm going to this weekend. yay!

mine! mine! all mine! 8.03.2006 |

there is something deeply gratifying about selfish knitting. it brightens my day, warms my soul and brings a smile to my face. I always love the yarn I choose for me. and I think I have really great taste in patterns. I forgive myself when things don't go as planned and I don't hold a grudge if I don't finish something I told myself I'd finish or even if I never start something I said I would. I'm very understanding if I'm too busy to work on a project because of other obligations. I'm also willing to let other obligations slide if I really want to work on a project. in fact, I am almost painfully accomodating! I am awesome!

I don't even know why I waste my time knitting for other people. it's not that anyone I've knit for has been ungrateful or that I don't enjoy working on those projects and I'm no more or less excited to finish. and FO is an FO regardless of where it's headed next. (oh, who am I kidding? sometimes I really do hate the way gifts can be such a time suck and keep me away from knitting something for myself. me! me!!) but I don't think anyone appreciates things I've knit for them anywhere near as much as I do when I knit for myself. yet, I continue to knit things for others. what in the world makes me do it? why must I be so damn giving? why am I such a nice person? why isn't there a font that you can use for sarcasm? you can use bold or italics when you need extra emphasis on something, but what if you need a little extra sarcasm? how can people tell? someone needs to come up with something. is there a congressman or someone I can contact about this? what was I talking about? did I get off topic again? hello?

oh, right. I want to be more selfish. it's in my nature, really. I really am selfish. but I guess I just wish it were more socially acceptable so I could be all, "oh, right. happy birthday. excuse me while I got knit me some socks." unfortunately, I want to keep my friends so I don't have as much time to be selfish as I want. I have all these gifts that are half-done and overdue, yet, not so deep down, all I want to do is knit for me me me! I need to figure out a way to make myself finish stuff so I can focus more on me. but, instead, I find myself thinking "I'll just finish this one thing for me, and then I can focus on finishing X for so-and-so." but even though I have 100 gifts to make, I have something like 10,000 things that I want to make for myself. this is what seems to have led to the half-finishedness and overduededness of these gifts. but... my ponchette... (pout)

ok, fine, knitting for other people is still gratifying. but, it's just not the same as selfish knitting. I really do like giving gifts. really! sigh. it will be a wonder if I can get all these done in time for next year's birthdays. someone say a prayer to the knitgods for me... I need help from a higher power. cuz, wow, how many times did I say "me" in this post??

tis better to receive than to give 8.01.2006 |

sometimes. wendy might disagree. because she came over last night to hang out and came bearing gifts for me! well, gift. and, technically, it's for isa. but it came out a teensy bit bigger than intended, so we joked that maybe she can wear it to her first day of kindergarten. but, hi! so cute!! this is from the debbie bliss book, baby knits for beginners. it's so incredibly soft and sweet and made with lots of love - months of love - just for little isa. I hope she knows just how loved she is!
take a look at the super cute tag and ribbon and little baggie, just like the ones that come with store-bought sweaters. wendy is way into cuteness - not just looking at it, but making it into something tangible. but I don't need to tell you that! you can see the evidence right here! you may be asking "where is this wendy's blog so I can see more of her amazing creations?" the answer is: it's still inside her head. (knock, knock!) come out, come out, little blog! the world is ready to welcome you! we think you're great!