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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.

yawn 6.30.2006 |

I've done so little knitting this past week that it's not even worth it to post anything today. but it's friday and there's not much to do at the office today, and there's a super long weekend coming up and I've actually got all four days off to do fun stuff like melt in the heat and try to hang onto my sanity despite my complete and utter inability to cope in temperatures in excess of 70 degrees. what can I say? being born and raised in the bay area will do that to a girl. I'm a total weather wimp. I admit it.

actually, I am doing something productive, knitting-wise, but it's for another birthday present and I'm going to play things safe by not mentioning too much about it, lest secrets get leaked and surprises get spoiled. this makes for very poor blog content, but I just want to get it out of the way so that I can do more interesting things (aka "things for me! me! me!!").

I've been doing pretty good at stopping myself from buying any more yarn and/or knitterly things this week in light of my recent sprees. but I did have a moment of weakness and bought shoes. that totally doesn't count, right? and since I bought two pairs, they cancel out, right? right?

a happy canada day eve to you canadians! and a happy america day in four days to all you americans! I'm not aware of any other holidays in the next few days, but happy whatever to anyone else out there who is celebrating something I failed to mention. and, of course, a happy knitting weekend to everyone!

semi-knitting content straight ahead 6.28.2006 |

let's go with the bad news first. I was pretty proud of myself, working both front sides of my cardigan at once, following (or so I thought) my notes from when I worked the back. to my dismay, last night, after doing a few rows of the armpit shaping, I discovered that I had failed to mark what row I started the armpits on the back! I had been following the notes I had for when I started the center shaping, which comes several rows later. basically, this means I did a bunch of rows that didn't need to be done and I need to figure out where I need to rip back to in order to get my armpits to match up. this is what the cardi pieces are up to currently. they might just stay there for a while...
because! look what came in the mail yesterday!
yup, this is my knitpicks needle set! I haven't had much time to play with it yet, but, as for first impressions, it seems quite nice. the tips are very nice and sharp and the cords are very pliable. I did a little comparison with my addis and the knitpicks cord actually seem softer. it seems like the addis are like a metal cord covered with a plastic coating and the knitpicks just seem like they're straight plastic. the needles also don't seem nearly as hefty as the addis - we'll see how they hold up over time, but they're looking good for the most part - shiny and slick.

the joins are also quite nice and smooth. I cast on and knit a row for leda's dream stole with some silk laceweight, just to see how well the stitches moved and they barely caught at all. so I guess I'm pretty pleased. I think I'll use these a lot and, given the great pricing, I think I'll be investing in some of their smaller sized circs and dpns at some point. just not now, since the credit cards are on vacation.

I'm home today cuz isa's got a fever. poor girl. hopefully, she'll get lots of sleep and I'll get some knitting done. heehee.

stand over there and try not to squint 6.26.2006 |

so, I did pretty much no knitting at all this weekend. but that doesn't mean I was entirely unproductive! I decided to dust off the old sewing machine and get to work on a project that I'd been meaning to work on for about a month or so. I've been admiring these offhand designs bags about as long as I've been knitting, but just haven't been able to justify spending that much for a knitting bag. instead, I decided to make my own. I bought some chenille tapestry fabric off ebay and basically let it sit in my house for a month while I tried to figure out how I would go about tackling this bag thing.

I learned to use a sewing machine when I was really young - my mom used to sew a lot when I was a kid. she made lots of cute outfits for me and my brother. as a teenager, I made a few skirts and a couple pairs of shorts and probably about 100 scrunchies. since then, I've mostly made stuff with straight lines only: a few baby quilts, camera cases, chapstick holders, pillows, bedskirts, etc. the most challenging things I've made to date are two reupholstered glider/ottoman sets. here's mine; no pics of my friend's (her's looks better - I need to take pics next time I visit).

I can't say I've got skills or even a system/method to my madness when it comes to sewing. I never learned to follow a pattern and am actually rather intimidated by them. I usually just make things up as I go along, which is fine when I'm basically sewing squares or rectangles together or have cushions or a camera that I can just trace onto the fabric. I usually try to sketch something out with measurements and notes, but I always end up not quite having what I'd intended because the fabric usually has a mind of it's own and I just kind of let it go where it wants.

now, making an actual usable bag that (I hope) I won't be too embarrassed to use in public is a whole other ball game. this was uncharted territory for me. it had to be symmetrical, and the snappy opening thing needed to fit in the top. I don't really need to go into details (or rather, I can't, because I'm not entirely sure what I did for most of it), but I basically had an idea in mind and tried as best as I could to make it happen. I think it came out about 90% the way I'd wanted. try not to look too closely, as there are a lot of wonky parts here and there. I think I'm pretty happy, overall.

here it is! my knitting bag - the colors aren't super accurate here, but not too far off. I intend to do something about those ribbon straps... they need to be strengthened somehow, but I've got time to figure that out yet.

and there is potomoto in there, enjoying his new surroundings. I think he quite enjoyed his weekend off, but he's ready to get back to work.




here's my self-portrait for scale. the top is about 16" across, and the bottom about 20". it's roughly 6" deep and 7" high.

"susan does not follow directions well" 6.23.2006 |

that must have been one of the comments on my report card as a grade school student - probably more than once. I know I got a lot of "susan disrupts other students." I wasn't so good at paying attention back then. and I'm not so good now either. case in point:
chart A. A. not chart B, like someone might believe is the logical conclusion when working the first part of this pattern. someone was probably thinking "I think I'm going to practice chart B now so that when I have to do it for reals, I'll have a good handle on things." yes. there was quite a bit of rippage. not something someone is not familiar with. good news, though. when I took it off the needles, I tried it on, and it does fit. it is, indeed, stretchy enough to fit over my massive, rhino-esque legs.but no worries, cuz it's friday! and I really do love the pattern. it's so intuitive (especially if you actually are smart enough to do the right part at the right time, probably). and it's pretty. kinda makes me want to eat fish, just like when I visit the aquarium.

on a rampage 6.22.2006 |

I must be stopped! I don't even want to think about how much stuff I've bought in recent weeks. remember just a couple of months ago, when I totally gave up shopping for lent? I think I've more than made up for lost time. besides the mountain of yarn I've managed to acquire (with more on it's way - ack!), I've also just received my blocking board (yay!) and I won an ebay auction for a swift (double yay!).

but, seriously now... I feel fully outfitted (please, no one tell me that there's something else I need) and prepared for months upon months of knitting enjoyment. I mean, really, I've got enough yarn and patterns and whatever to keep me busy for longer than I probably want to admit. so! much! stuff!! ack! it's time to lock up the credit cards and freeze the paypal account. after the major work out that I've given them, they deserve a summer holiday. heck, I deserve a summer holiday. and a nap. is this week over yet?

edited to add: I also forgot about these! ack! excited, but, good lord, I need to be restrained. or committed. I'm such a sucker for advertising... actually, not even advertising, just (what appears to be) cool stuff. *sigh* lock me up and throw away the key, already.

land shark! 6.21.2006 |

looks like six little sharks swimming in a neat little circle, doesn't it? maybe just to me... what's that? you thought I was making these guys out of that gorgeous fleece artist? I was, I was! but I'd totally forgotten I'd ordered more cherry tree hill supersock in this delicious turquoise (the photo does not do it justice) which would be perfect for fish inspired socks, dontcha think?

of course, in all my excitement, I didn't do any swatching or measuring of these tree trunks I try to pass off as legs and am a little concerned that these little things aren't going to fit over my giant man-calves. it seems awfully stretchy, but is it stretchy enough? the pattern tells me that the relaxed leg circumference should be 6", which is what I have, but I'm feeling just the slightest bit hesitant. maybe I just won't make them so long, so they don't have to go as high up on my leg.

speaking of sharks, I've never been on a cruise before (don't think I'd like them so much), but this almost makes me think that a cruise could be fun! I had no idea such things existed. a couple of people posted it to the socknitters list yesterday and I was instantly intrigued. anyone want to go?

can I get a drumroll, please? 6.19.2006 |

presenting... elfine's for elaine! ta-da! here they are all finished:
and here they are all washed and ready to go:
pattern: elfine's socks, by anna bell
finished: june 16, 2006
yarn: cherry tree hill supersock, life's a beach colorway
needles: susan bates quicksilver us1 24" circular and 7" dpns
gauge: ~8 spi in st st (not sure on row gauge... who cares? they fit great!!)
size: women's 8-9 shoe
changes: sherman heel in place of wrapped short rows; k1p1 cuff in place of garter stitch cuff; otherwise, pretty much followed the pattern as is
blocking: decided to just wash and lay flat. I was afraid that if I tried to block out the lace pattern that they would be too big.
final thoughts: love love love them!! my first finished pair of socks, but definitely not my last. not sure how the yarn will hold up, since after multiple rippings and re-doings of the heel and many trying ons, it started to look a little fuzzy around the edges. after the wash, they looked ok, though. I would love to make these again, since I loved them so much that I started to have second thoughts about giving them away... I want a pair for myself!
here is a glaring mistake I found right above the heel on the second sock (looks like a k2tog'ed when I should have ssk'ed) that I decided to ignore. who looks back there anyway, right? we're just going to pretend everything is just fine.I received a few packages over the last week. here's the whole gang busy plotting my ultimate demise. they know they have more friends coming and I think they're going to be successful in taking me down. they obviously know what they're doing. look who they sent after me first:
that's fleece artist. he immediately jumped into my hands and declared, "I want to be potomotos!" I was far too weak to fight back or try and think of what the real name of those socks is. I was also too tired to get more than 3 rows of cuff done. but I am excited!

and, yes! that IS a ball winder! courtesy of miss (get a real blog) wendy! thanks, friend! I love it and I think it loves me too. altho, it laughed at my little tikes swift, so I think I might need to get it an accomplice one of these days...

vroom vroom! 6.16.2006 |

how cool is this? I'm getting lightheaded just thinking about spending 10 months knitting any one thing. in one color. I'm sure those are 10 months of actual knitting, unlike the 10 inactive months I've spent "working" on quite a number of things.

almost done with the elfines! I'm gonna make it!

in other news, I recently joined socknitters and have learned, via one of the messages, that I've been ssk'ing wrong! apparently, you're supposed to k tbl, which is not what I was doing. I think it looks ok when I just knit normally. hm. well, guess I'll have to do it the right way with my next project. which will be... oh right... finishing the cardigan. and my second thuja sock. and the reversible rib shawl. oh, right, and that damn baby sweater (where damn modifies sweater, not baby), which I just realized hasn't been touched since april! dang. ET phone home! the ufo's are circling!

I also got a bunch of the yarn I've been ordering in the last week or so. I forgot to take a picture, tho, so that will come next time. in the meantime, for a mental picture: everyone is living together in a big usps box, having a grand ole party in my bedroom! doing... whatever it is yarn does when you're not looking. probably getting into all sorts of trouble. frankly, I'd really rather not know.

ps. I'm slovenly!

Greed:Very Low
Gluttony:Low
Wrath:Low
Sloth:High
Envy:Very Low
Lust:Very Low
Pride:Low

Take the Seven Deadly Sins Quiz

come on in, the water's fine! 6.15.2006 |

is this what they call pooling? how come the first sock (on the left) came out so not-pooly? of course I am way past the point of no return, so pooly sock this will be. I think the bottom looks really cool, though. look at those stripes! rawr! it's like battlecat from he-man.
you know what slowed me down a great deal last night? so you think you can dance. is anyone else watching this show? I was hopelessly addicted to it last summer and now they've brought it back for another round of twirling and jumping and gyrating for my viewing enjoyment. it's way better than dancing with the stars. but I can't seem to watch and knit at the same time! I tried to time it so that I'd only be doing stockinette rows during the actual dancing, but I wasn't that successful. and the episode was two hours long too. gah!

anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed (not literally, tho, because that would definitely not be helpful) that these bad boys will be ready for gifting come sunday.

nothing new or exciting 6.13.2006 |

things are about to get pretty boring around here, since all my knitting time is basically focused on finishing my second elfine. and finishing by this weekend is starting to look unlikely. sad!

I was just noticing that my little flickr badge thing over there on the sidebar is really dull. almost everything I've made seems to be pink or some shade of grey/black/brown... have you fallen asleep yet? I'm not totally sure why I always use such blah colors. I wouldn't say I'm a terribly boring person or anything. but even my wardrobe tends towards all solid colored clothing. and basically just varying shades of the same colors too. *yawn*

man, I'm even boring myself now.

oh! here's something slightly interesting (to me at least). I read in our local paper that there has been a string of mail thievings (thievery? stealerings? what is that called?) in my city. some lady had her son's graduation announcements stolen out of her mailbox and they were replaced with her neighbor's shredded billsl! what's that all about? kinda creepy, huh? so, apparently, this was not an isolated incident - it's been happening all over town. the postmaster (who is this postmaster? sounds so ominous) says we should all drop off our mail in the blue boxes and pick up our mail from our mailboxes as soon as it's dropped off. unfortunately, I have this job thing that keeps me from being home all day to wait for my mail and now I'm starting to get just slightly paranoid...

also, I got a blocking board finally! well, I ordered one, but it's not here yet. I am quite excited, even though I'm starting to feel like I'm going to make it my life's purpose to knit socks (which seem to be the only things that doesn't require a blocking board) until my fingers turn blue. we'll see how that goes.

one is the loneliest number... 6.12.2006 |

hello, world! after much frustration (and cursing), I am proud to present elfine #1! isn't she pretty? I'm really excited about starting the second sock. I have yet to experience this "second sock syndrome" so many have complained of. instead, I find myself suffering from "she didn't know she was getting socks from me, so she won't be disappointed if I just keep them for myself syndrome". is this natural?I can hardly stand it! I keep wanting to put it on and admire how well it fits my foot and how pretty it is and how nice it'll look in my sock drawer... hm? what's that? oh, right. I don't get to keep it. sad. maybe I can just keep one? I feel like I'm giving up puppies for adoption or something. and everyone knows you can't break up puppy brothers, because that's just mean. and I don't want peta to come after me, so I guess I should just stay with the original plan to give these puppies away... I just hope they fit her as well as they do me, since her ankles are no where near as huge as mine...

so, after I managed to get the heel squared away, I returned to the twisted world of magic loop and managed to work my way up the leg by the end of last night. the weekend of camping sort of slowed down the progress... otherwise, I think I would have had #2 started by now. I subbed a k1p1 rib for the cuff instead of the garter stitch the pattern called for. I thought the ribbing would make for a snugger fit. and it took me a while to figure out a bind off that didn't make my head hurt and also was nice and stretchy. this one was easy! hooray for easy. and hooray for sock #2 - look out! here I come!

ps. how does one block lace socks?

ever just have one of those days? 6.09.2006 |

sherman and I got into a huge fight. unbecoming things were said. there was cursing. there was name calling. and, of course, there was hair pulling and shaking of fists at the sky while sobbing "why me?! whyyy??" I blamed him for being difficult. he blamed me for not knowing how to count. and then, there was the stabbing. I'm not proud of what I did. but I felt provoked. he was really trying my patience. and I admit it was a moment of weakness and frustration. for a second, I really thought it was over between us. well, technically, I guess I did kill him. several times. but here he is...
he's not perfect, but I think we're getting more comfortable with each other. sadly, though... once I finally did get finished with sherman the 12th (or maybe it's the 112th... I lost count a long time ago. I swear all I've been doing for the last 24 hours is knitting hundreds of little heels), I realized that I ended the instep on row 16 instead of row 15! how did I miss an entire line on the pattern? and, on top of that, I think it's going to be too big! the recipient's shoe size is one size bigger than mine, but I think her feet are also narrower... I want her to actually wear these (or, at the very least, think about wearing them), so I think I need to go down half a pattern repeat for better fit. goodbye, sherman the 12th... it's going to be lucky 13 for me today!

achilles 6.08.2006 |

achilles must've been a knitter. interesting, isn't it, how I've knit about 7 heels and have roughly half a sock? I don't know why I'm having such a hard time with this, but I keep messing up! I tried to follow the pattern for the heel, but I kept getting holes. maybe I wasn't doing it right. or maybe I've done something to anger the knitting gods.

I've spent the better part of the morning trying to make the things I've found online for the sherman heel work for me, but I keep losing count or slipping the wrong stitch or just not getting it right and end up having to just rip out the whole thing. maybe I'd do better with some pictures or a video or maybe just a pair of hands that come out of the monitor and just knit this for me. when is someone going to invent that? I bet they'd make a fortune! but, in reality, I am a staunch do-it-myself-er and am so freaking determined to get this right that it's not even funny. in fact, the more times I do it, the less funny it gets. also, I think the yarn is starting to get annoyed. it now has a body wave. leaning towards a jerry curl. if I don't get this right soon, it might just turn into an afro and run off with a pair of platforms and sparkly bell bottoms.

anyway, I just really want sherman and me to be friends. I feel like we'd make a good team, since I anticipate years of sock knitting to come. and if I told people that I know him, I would be instantly cool by association. am I being superficial because the only reason I want this to work out is because I think he's pretty? really, I just want to beat him into submission and make him obey my every command. you know, what every woman wants in a man.

I've also come to realize that there was probably a reason this pattern was written for magic loop (of course! why wouldn't there be?). it's not going to be easy to keep in the lace pattern once I get to the leg if I use dpns. so I guess susan bates and I will be reunited. I gave her a hot bath, but that only seemed to anger her. come on, suzie... show me some love...

yo yo yo 6.07.2006 |

notice anything different? as you can see, the dpns had to be called in after one too many twisty magic loop maneuvers last night. I couldn't stand trying to figure out which way to twist the needles to get the cord to go straight any longer and decided it was time sanity made a showing at the sock party. and it feels so very nice. and I am really enjoying this knit! who'da thunk socks would be so fun?

this hasn't prevented me from dropping yo's, tho. both times I've done it so far, it's taken me much too long to figure out what happened. but things are looking good so far. this is 3 repeats. I think once I get two more in, we're going to be ready for some heel action. I'm happy to report that things are moving quicker than I'd thought they would and it doesn't seem so unattainable of a goal to finish these by next weekend anymore. (I'll stop myself here, though, before I get too cocky.)

I've also been getting a little nutty with the yarn buying online these last few days. I've been trying to find a good deal on some more artyarns supermerino so I can begin building my army of yarn-men (starting with their feet, of course). I found some here. and she offers 10% when you join the mailing list! (although, I've come to realize that mailing lists are bad bad things. it's like the store's way of saying "hi there! we're ready to take your money now! just click here!") plus, she's super nice and can even special order colors she doesn't have on the site. and, besides that order, I've got a couple others on their way. when everyone gets here, I'll be sure to gather them together for a group shot. say cheese!

ps. blogger is driving me crazy - not so much blog, but a whole lot of grrr...

smitten 6.06.2006 |

one pattern repeat down - who knows how many more to go. what fun! didn't get as much knitting time in yesterday (obviously) as I'd originally intended. magic loop is kind of a pain in the butt. maybe if the cord weren't so twisty. I guess this is what I get with susan bates. actually, I'm not even 100% sure these are susan bates. and I was thinking of getting some addis to do the rest of the socks on, but damn them for not making a 2.25mm! perhaps this is something I should have considered before starting. is there some way to soften up the cord? I feel like I spend way too much time trying to untwist it, which is probably adding on more time to the construction of these socks than I actually have. or is it time to just forget it all and break out the dpns?

otherwise, the knitting is quite enjoyable. I wonder how long it will take me to memorize the lace pattern. or if I will at all. and I can't stop thinking about that glorious artyarns supermerino! man, oh, man, I think I'm in love. I just want to cuddle with it while it whispers sweet nothings in my ear all day. just thinking about it makes me all giddy. how attractive would a full-length bodysuit be, knit entirely of artyarns? could I wear it to work? a wedding? the gym? no, wait - I will knit an entire man out of nothing but artyarns, so I can marry him. you'll all be invited to the ceremony!

monday monday... 6.05.2006 |

I woke up this morning not sure what day it was. sadly for me, it's monday. *sigh* this weekend was way too short. I did squeeze in a bit of knitting time, though. and I even have things to show for it. well, thing. I finished my first sock! it was surprisingly easier than I'd thought. I don't know what I was so scared of before. and not only was it easy, it was fast and fun. hello there, pasty leg! nothing like a wool sock in june.
in fact, it was so fun, that I decided to start another pair (I realize I haven't actually finished a first pair yet... but who says that's a prerequisite for starting a second?) for my friend's birthday coming up in about a week and a half. can I finish?? I'm not sure, but I'm going to try! especially because I actually bought this yarn to make socks for her birthday last year, but then got scared and didn't. I think I got her a card. anyway, I'm making elfine's socks in cherry tree hill supersock in the life's a beach colorway. this pattern is toe-up using magic loop, which was confusing to start, since I wasn't sure how to do a figure 8 cast on. but it looks pretty good, so I guess it doesn't really matter whether or not I did it right. I'm pretty excited about these.I did about 2 more cable repeats on the cardi. but I'm gonna try and focus on the bday socks for the next few days. are y'all starting to think that I'm incapable of actually finishing a project? getting you all excited with these progress pics and even half a pair of socks, only to leave you hanging as I move on to something else... you know, I always thought I was a good multi-tasker because I always seem to have a ton of stuff going on at once. unfortunately, the truth is I just start a bunch of stuff and never actually finish any of it. ha! tricked you all!

holey moley 6.02.2006 |

scrump-diddly-umptious yarn + boring day at work = half a sock! and a hole right there, where I totally picked up stitches way messily. I'll be sure to do a better job on sock #2. I've "turned the heel" (sock-lingo! look at me, all pretending I know what I'm talking about), but I'm not sure how I feel about this heel flap method. I think I like the way that short row heels look better. but, this being my first sock, and thus, a learning experience, I decided to just follow the pattern as closely as possible. I'll have to attempt the short row heel on the next pair. I mean, I need to finish this sock. and not think about other socks. right.

anyway, I think this thick yarn (artyarns supermerino) makes things go by really quickly, which is making this just fly by! exciting! only 44 st cast on. it may be challenging to ignore it and work on the cardi tonight. but, actually, I'm quite enjoying the cardi as well. yum... all is well in the land of knitting... two enjoyable projects at once! I'd forgotten what it felt like! I feel like pushing my chair back from my desk and spinning around with my arms and legs out, throwing my head back and going "wheeeee!!!" would this be proper workplace etiquette? think anyone will notice? should I close my door first? and what kind of music should I play?

high time to learn how to crochet...!! 6.01.2006 |

what fun! wendy came over last night for some knitting and chatting and eating. having her over was enough of a treat, but she also came bearing gifts!! look!
we've been trying to keep each other from dying while not getting any work done for the last couple weeks and instead surfing the web for cute japanese craft books, lamenting the fact that they are not cheap or easy to find. but, apparently, the local kinokuniya had a few in stock - just organized really badly. luckily, wendy had a little time the other night to peruse. and look how I have benefitted! hooray for me! I flipped through all the super cute projects and had to try really hard to not drool all over the pages. also, not to hyperventilate and pass out. I bet the patterns aren't that hard. the only small detail is that I don't really know how to crochet. and I really really don't know any japanese. so, this could take a while. I think these little guys are cute enough for me to try and learn, though. ack!! how did japan get to be so creative?
(apparently, these guys are called amigurumi and everyone already seems to know all about them!)

still making steady progress on the cardi. but, remember those two balls of artyarn supermerino I picked up the other day? they've been staring me down like two big pink eyeballs every time I enter my bedroom. they've been saying: you knoooow you want to make sockkkkksss.... doooo itttt....!! I couldn't take their constant hissing any longer and broke down and ... well...
the only word I can think of to describe this yarn is sproingy. it is so nice! so squishy! so soft! so pretty! mmm... I love you... shhh... don't tell the others, but I think the new kid on the block is going to be doing some major competing for my attention in the next few days.