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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.

I'll take another weekend now, please 7.31.2006 |

the weekend was good to me. well, mostly. I got home from work friday to find these guys waiting eagerly for me. what a great way to start the weekend! I had ordered my new coffee grinder and the yarn harlot's book earlier in the week and definitely did not expect them to come so quickly! and I also didn't think the fall interweave knits would come before july ended either. such a wonderful surprise. and that yarn harlot! such a hoot!

my southern california knit buddy was up for the week to visit her folks. sadly, she had baby in tow and didn't actually bring any knitting. but we did manage to squeeze in some time after the little ones were in bed to camp out in the knitting section at borders and sip coffee and flip through books and dream of swimming in pools of yarn. it was a great way to end a crazy crazy day.

we, along with three other mommies and some grandparents and aunties, plus the five kiddos between the ages of 11 and 21 months hauled ourselves up to habitot in berkeley. the kids had a blast, but were tired and hungry by the time we managed to get out of there and down the street for lunch. super tasty food (quite possibly the best peking duck I've had this side of the pacific), but the staff there had to seat us on the third floor (no elevator, of course) because our party was so big. imagine dragging five cranky kids and five strollers up two very narrow flights of stairs in a crowded restaurant... thank goodness it was nice and cool that day.
the weekend activities ended early, with a picnic lunch on sunday afternoon at the park. the rest of the day was spent recuperating and relaxing. I'm about one third of the way done with the ponchette. it really is super fast and brainless to knit. but I guess I have been being a bit too brainless about it and have, on multiple occasions, knit rows and rows without realizing that I'd forgotten to do the pattern rows. oops. needless to say, I've done a fair amount of tinking.
oh, one more thing I did. sorry, no pictures of the actual process... I had been wondering where I could buy some lavender sachets to put in my yarn stash. I noticed they sold fresh lavender at trader joe's for only $2.79 for a good sized bunch. I laid it out in the sun and, once it was dry, shook and rubbed off the lavender buds and put them in these little envelope things that are made for the spices you throw in for making those chinese stewed eggs - they're kind of like big tea bags. I filled up 10 of them and still had quite a bit left over. so cheap! so easy! and so much better smelling than my bedroom normally is.

susan and kntting, sitting in a tree... 7.28.2006 |

whenever I finish a project, I feel like I need to do some personal reflection. do I pick up one of the 100s of ufo's I use to carpet my home or do I cast on for one of the projects I'd mysteriously managed to gather materials for in the last few weeks? I struggle with the guilt of the languishing ufo's but then drool at the thought of something new. it's never a tough choice.

my knitting projects are like relationships. some good, but more bad, it seems... most of them start out with pure superficiality; serendipitously finding myself face to face with a super cute pattern and knowing that I just have to have it. I just have to! I mean, look how cute it is! imagine how cute we'll look together! I do whatever it takes to make it happy, finding the perfect yarn in the perfect color, taking it with me everywhere, staying up late together, making sure it's comfortable and safe in it's own little bag, telling everyone I know how great it is, daydreaming about the day that I can wear it proudly for all to see... I jump right in with little foresight - I'm too busy basking in the glow of the newness and excitement of the whole thing.

usually, there are rough patches along the way. more often than I wish, one of those rough patches means the end of it all. we have a big fight, I yell at it, and then stuff it in a bag and toss it in the closet so we can each have the space we need. sometimes, we are able to reconcile. sometimes things are so badly damaged that it could be years before we can even face each other again. sometimes I just rip it to bits and try not to think about it anymore. sometimes I completely forget that it even exists. maybe if it wrote or called more often or didn't tell me that we look fat together, I would be able to overcome my feelings of anger and resentment.

other times, a younger cuter pattern comes along and catches my eye (I have such a wayward heart!) and the one I was working on gets left in the dust. the yarn is always greener on the other needles, isn't it? suddenly, the current project seems dull, old, lifeless. it does nothing for me. but look at that cute new kid who keeps clamoring for my attention, batting those eyelashes, smiling coyly in my direction... who can resist??

and, sometimes, I get enamored with two or more projects at the same time! that's tough, too, because I try to juggle them all, only to realize I don't have the ability to devote the amount of attention each one requires and end up having to choose just one. I don't think I've ever been able to successfully manage several concurrent projects. I guess it just isn't in my nature.

sometimes, the more I get to know certain projects, the more I realize that it wasn't quite what I had envisioned and that maybe it was all a big mistake. if this happens early on, it's no big deal. it's a bit more crushing if I've gotten in pretty deep. that's when things have the potential to get messy. and this is especially embarrassing if I've boasted about the cuteness of such a project publically. say, on my blog.

then, of course, there are the flings. the ones I just kind of pick up because I need a distraction from the "real" project which may be trying my patience or have gotten boring for the moment. I may not be all that attracted to it, but it's there and it's easy. it's rare that those actually turn into anything useful, but they often give me the motivation I need to focus on the real thing. these are easily abandoned with minimal remorse.

but then, once in a blue moon, that one pattern comes along and sweeps me right off my feet... it's rare (that's how I know it's good), but things sail along so perfectly, the initial rush enough to carry me through to the end. all the little snags that pop up seem insubstantial and misunderstandings are smoothed over in no time. that's when I really love knitting. I mean, I love it all the time, unconditionally, but that's when I realize why I love it. that's when it all becomes worth it. can you tell I'm still swooning over orangina? teehee.

this post was inspired just a teensy bit by this. it's about poo, so don't click unless you like to read about poo. just a warning. it's super hilarious, though. happy friday!

look out world... 7.26.2006 |

...here she is! orangina (and hi! is that my bra or what?) in all her glory:
maybe I should've worn a shirt inside... then again, I guess there is no proof that it's me or my bra in there anyway. thank goodness it's finally cool enough to put this on. it fits just the way I'd wanted and I looooooove it! love it! I hope no one will be offended if I wear this every day - with something less revealing inside, of course.

hot! hot! hot! 7.24.2006 |

thank you all, so very much, for waiting so patiently to catch a glimpse of the long awaited completed orangina! I was so excited when binding off and blocking time came late friday night. sorry, too, that there are no pictures of me actually wearing it - it's not because I don't want to (because, oh, I do want to - oh so badly...) but because it's well over a billion degrees and I haven't stopped sweating for about 3 or 4 days. I did slip it on for a second or two, before giving it a bath, just to make sure that the length was ok. I did not snap a picture then, because, trust me, you do not want to see me in that state. ever. but enough of my babbling... presenting orangina!pattern: orangina by stephanie at glampyre knits
yarn: rowan 4-ply cotton, color 120 (pinkish)
needles: addi turbo 24" 3mm and 2.5mm circulars

notes: I used 3mm needles for the body of the sweater, mostly because I couldn't find my us3s and I figured I would like a tighter fabric anyway. I made the 34" size, which, coupled with the change in needle size, would make for a tighter fit, which is what I was going for. also, I decided to work the front and back at the same time and then join them together after 8" (under the armpits) so I wouldn't have to do any seaming, except for the top. I k2tog under each armpit, which set me up perfectly for the 3x3 ribbing later on. also, I went down to the 2.5mm needles for the ribbing, also for a tighter fit.

overall, I'm very pleased with how it came out! except for the fact that I haven't actually tried it on in all it's blocked out glory. it's so pretty that I don't want to contaminate it with whatever is seeping out of my pores right now. I will post a "look at me in my first very own article of self-knitted clothing" pic as soon as it cools down...

I need to just address this scorching heat for a little bit here. mostly because it is really all anyone can talk about right now. I don't seem capable of forming a coherent thought, and isa is swaggering around in a daze, like a drunken toddler, asking for water every couple of seconds. I've slept downstairs in front of the open sliding door for two nights in a row, on my therma-rest, in very little clothing, next to a bucket of ice (thinking that maybe it would provide some sort of relief) drenched in a gallon or so of sweat even though my mother is worried that someone is going to break into the house if I leave the door open. I'd spent the majority of the weekend wandering aimlessly in two different malls, not quite sure what to do with myself, but quite sure I didn't want to go back home, where it actually seemed hotter than it was outside. when will it end?? I swear, today was the first time ever that I'd wanted to come into the office, where the a/c blows like the wind. I actually have to wear a sweatshirt to stay warm! ahhh...

ok, just two more things before I sign off for the day and pray to God that I have enough brain power left to actually do my job... firstly, I have to admit that before orangina was even off the needles that I cast on for the cool hemp ponchette by lana knits designs in southwest trading company bamboo. the bamboo is crunchier than I'd thought it would be, but it's nice and shiny and I'm pretty sure it's going to get softer after washing. what fun! so easy...finally, yay, floyd!! I didn't get to actually watch any real tour footage this year, since comcast decided to take away oln for some unknown reason a few months back. I was a little bummed about missing it, but I think I'll live. at any rate, I was a little unsure about whether he'd be able to pull it back together after his drop in the standings last week, but he did it! yay!

excuses, excuses... 7.21.2006 |

I'm going to blame my failure to complete orangina on all sorts of stuff, including it's too hot and there is too much going on. for reals, tho, I am going to finish tonight. I've only got an inch or two of the ribbing left. then it's off to the blocking board and then I'm so going to wear it. like every day, because it's so so pretty! but, speaking of ribbing, my tension is way funky... I'm not sure if it's because I keep starting and stopping at random times or what, but I am pretty hopeful that everything is going to block out just fine. are these "progress" photos getting depressing or what? I swear, this is really really the last one. (also, go floyd!)

and, I just want to say, DANG I got a lot of hits yesterday! I was like "wow! I'm so popular!" and I thought it was because people finally figured out how incredibly exciting this blog is, but it turns out that it is all largely due to a big mention of these sock blockers by tricotine on a couple knit lists. thanks for making me feel popular! also, welcome all you sexy knitters! I'm gonna get real sexy real soon - with my orangina! woohoo!

btw, it is really hard not to get up and dance around my office right now. it's friday and my sharona just came on the radio. just yesterday, they played lisa loeb's stay and I was singing along as quietly as I could because it is impossible to listen to that song and not sing along. but I was also trying to not offend my coworkers too much. is the reality bites soundtrack the greatest music collection of all time or what? or am I just getting old?

pants on fire... 7.19.2006 |

I know I said I wouldn't post again until orangina was done... but I'm close! I'm really really close! just wanted to share this article, which has some interesting stats on bloggers. where is the mention of knitbloggers, though? I'd kind of like to know what percentage we make up.
also, I found this receipt as I was cleaning out my bag the other day and cannot, for the life of me, figure out what it was that I'd bought. if I had actually purchased cher's fanny, I think I'd remember... wouldn't I?

the end is in sight...! (now with pictures!) 7.17.2006 |

I know I'd made some totally bogus claims about finishing orangina this past weekend (didn't happen). this was largely due to my inability to remember things like "eye doctor appointment" and "wedding to attend" and "roasted pig to consume" and "15 month old who often does not nap" and "so tired, must sleep". I am getting close, though! even though my k3p3'ing is slow-going, I am really pumped to get this thing done, which is what keeps me going. it's so pretty... I want to wear it so badly!

I did spend a little time kicking myself for not bringing anything to knit as I waited for the doctor to arrive at my eye appointment. he was 30 minutes late! but, instead, I perused the eyeglasses selection and was reminded of how much I love glasses. but then I also remembered how infrequently I actually wear them and how expensive they are and how I have a perfectly good pair that I actually really love at home. I must have tried on 100 pairs while waiting, though. and, in doing so, I found some I really want. must. resist.
some friends got married this weekend, so I got to go to a really swanky wedding. I was really excited for the reception, but was actually kind of disappointed with the meal. I thought it was going to be really spectacular. instead, it was just ok. the best part was the little bite-sized dessert sampler at the end. oh, wait. I take that back. the best part was the open bar. I didn't get a chance to really take advantage of the one at last weekend's wedding, so I tried to make up for it this time. good times.

and then, sunday was my friends' second annual pig roast. one of them dug a pit in his backyard for the roasting, and then had 100 people over to help eat the little guy. actually, not so little. and it was a girl pig. that they named izzy. last year's pig was named suzy. I have no idea why they feel they must name dead pigs after me and my daughter, but they are trying to get me to have another so they can name next year's piggy after her. *sigh* I need new friends.

man, this post is so boring without pictures! I wholeheartedly apologize for my negligence. there will be pictures next time - I promise. in fact, I'll quit with the teasing and put a little fire under my butt and will not post until I have a completed orangina to show off. hurry, me!

by the way... 7.13.2006 |

have I mentioned my bedtime reading? it's been keeping me up more than helping me sleep, though. pure hilarity! oh, that david sedaris is such a hoot. makes my childhood seem even more boring than I'd originally thought it was. maybe I should write a book about my childhood too. if anything, just so I have something that can put me to sleep. I'm getting sleepy already, just thinking about it.

I don't have anything even remotely interesting to say right now. the progress on orangina is, well, not happening quite at the speed I'd originally hoped. I found some stupid mistakes yesterday and spent far too much time correcting them. so much time that the "progress" I made last night is practically unnoticeable.

so, to keep your eyes from totally glazing over, I'll just share this link. I'm sure many of you have already heard about this guy, who managed to trade up from a little red paperclip into a whole house! my friend shared this with me after I told him about an email I'd received about a bag I'd put up for sale on craigslist. someone was offering to trade me some of his artwork for my bag. I'm thinking about it. but I'd rather someone traded me some cash for it. and then I could turn around and trade that cash for some yarn! and then I could turn that yarn into half a sweater or half a stole or half a sock, just like all my other yarn. the possibilities are truly endless...

playing hooky (kinda) 7.11.2006 |

isa had her 15 month well check this morning. of course, I told my boss I'd be late, most likely rolling in around 11. her appointment was at 8:30 and over by 9. haha! so this is how I entertained myself for an hour and a half this morning:
if only all days could start out like this... a vanilla latte, a chocolate croissant, knitting and michael krasny (wow, he looks nothing like I'd imagined!) on my radio/phone.

still chugging away at orangina. I decided to join the front and back together at the armpits instead of waiting until the ribbing (to avoid the dreaded seaming) and thought I was doing rather well until I realized I had managed to eliminate all the yo's on one side and add a bunch on the other. I'm not sure where my brain was last night and it took me a long time to figure out what to do to try and fix the mess I'd created. luckily, it was only about an inch or so in, so I was able to fudge it a bit and I don't think it will be too noticeable. especially since I don't think many people will be wanting to get that close to my armpits any time soon either.

I actually had a fellow knitter stop by and chat with me for a couple minutes, too! she just moved to the area and had already noticed that there are no yarn stores within a 15 mile radius - a fact that I've been lamenting ever since I picked up knitting. I still think someone (anyone??) needs to open one. preferably right next door to peets. or maybe right inside of peets. that would be great! thanks!

anyway, I think I'm going to go for another six inches or so before I start the ribbing. I'll have to try it on once I get some more length to decide exactly where I want the ribbing to begin. have I already mentioned what a great knit this is? I really am loving it and can't wait to be done! am I being unrealistic to think I can have it done by this weekend?

all dressed up and nowhere to go 7.07.2006 |

I "made" these sock blockers this morning. last weekend, while I was busy buying yarn I had no business even being in the same room as, I saw these nifty fiber trends blockers. but even with the big sale, they were still over $20, which I thought was a bit much. I remembered hearing something about making your own out of wire hangers and found the directions here. not as fancy pants, but so simple, and free! I think I still need to reshape them a little so they look more like socks, since I basically just did some quick bending before breakfast this morning. or maybe I should have done them after breakfast... unfortunately, I don't actually have any socks to block at this point in time. perhaps trying them out will be motivation enough for me to finish my potomotos...

in the meantime, the weekend is here again. I'm starting to feel like all weekends should be four days long. sadly, there will be little time for knitting this time around, since there's a wedding to attend on saturday and a mini family reunion on sunday. is it socially unacceptable to knit during a wedding?

welcome to susan-land: where nothing ever gets done 7.05.2006 |

it's rather sobering to come back to the office to piles of work after relaxing for a blissful (but short) four days. one would hope that after such a long weekend, I would have many an FO to show off, but, alas... even on vacation, I can't change my wayward nature. and, instead of finishing any of about 10 half-finished and half-started projects, I cast on for a brand spankin' new one! hooray!

here's where things went wrong... saturday, after my haircut appointment with everyone's favorite stylist, I realized that I was only about 5 minutes away from the lys and it was a holiday weekend. and we all know what that means! it means "go home immediately!" unfortunately, I think the part of my brain which keeps me from doing things I should not be doing got snipped off during my haircut. or maybe (more likely) it never even existed in the first place. whatever the case, at that point in time, my car steered me in the appropriate direction and I pulled up to find myself staring at a store-wide sale. store-wide! sweet mother of god, everything was on sale! all the yarn, all the needles, and the books and accessories and maybe even the rug and the coat rack. it was overwhelming.

at some point, a smidgen of good sense came over me and I left the store with only a pair of socks' worth of artyarns supermerino and enough rowan cotton 4-ply for orangina. I've been wanting to make orangina for months - ever since it got voted as the sexy knitters club's knit along the last time around. sadly, I was busy lent-ing when it started and could not buy any yarn, so I sat it out and settled for lusting after everyone else's beautiful new summery tops. so I'm late hopping on the wagon (actually, that wagon has long since come to a stop and everyone is busy riding a completely different wagon now), but I am so loving this pattern. it's so simple, yet so beautiful! and I really hope I actually finish this one. famous last words.
so, my boss informed me this morning that things are going to get busy and he's going to give me more responsibilities (two things I didn't really want to hear) very soon. looks like my mid-day hour of knitting is going away. just like that. but, I guess he's not actually paying me to knit at my desk while reading other people's blogs. too bad. (please see sub-title of this blog now - while I go get myself a cup of coffee.)