Monday, October 29, 2007

Skein to Socks

Basic socks; 64 stitches on size 2.5mm needles, magic looped. Slipped-stitch heel flap.
Collinette Jitterbug sock yarn in Monet.

These took 10 days from skein to sock--I love magic loop!

They're a little long on me, and I was too lazy to rip them back and make them shorter, so I'm sending them to my darling L.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fits and Starts

Fits and starts. That seems to sum up my whole life, lately, including blogging.

Work-wise, I'm in grading jail. I should be grading right now--I'm already behind on where I want to be--but can't motivate myself to read papers.

Students are fighting me on their new paper topics--it needs to be directed at a specific, focused audience with whom the students have credibility; they keep wanting to write to Port Authority or iTunes instead of student groups or companies they've worked for. I don't understand their resistance to listen to my suggestions, since my pushing them to focus is in their best interest. You'd think that upperclassmen, at least, would have learned that if the person grading the paper suggests they tweak their topic a bit, they'd listen. But instead, they're fighting me on it. I'm tempted to give in, let them write what they want, and then suffer the consequences when grades roll around.

On the bright side, I'm teaching a course I really want to teach this summer; I'm having a ball requesting exam copies of texts so I can decide which ones to use. I want to spend all my time on that syllabus, which I won't need until July, instead of grading the papers I need to turn back tomorrow.

School-wise, I sent my committee what is (I hope) my penultimate draft, but it's taken almost 7 weeks of me emailing, asking if we could set up a time to get anything like a concrete response. My adviser said they needed about a month to read through, since they have other commitments. So now I've emailed back with a "how about this date" suggestion; I suspect it will take a month of emails asking them to confirm before my adviser gets back to me about it. Which means we'll need another date, and that puts us up to Christmas and winter break, so I'm afraid we're looking at January to talk about a draft I sent in August. I hate it that I continually have to bug for responses--it makes for a weird power dynamic.

Home-wise, G is crazy, crazy busy--he's teaching an overload, and taking a Polish class, and trying to carve out some time to work on his own stuff. His days are longer than mine--he's in class until 8:00 tonight. I might spend all day grading and prepping, but at least I'm home today, and can distract myself with other stuff. He's so busy he missed an important lunch the other day, with a visiting scholar. I've set up google calendars for both of us; maybe daily email reminders will help. I feel like I never see him anymore, and he's so stressed that I don't want to add to it.

The apartment is a mess; most of it is G's stuff (fishing lures and reels and articles for papers, classes he's teaching, the dissertation) and he's not home enough to get organized. Or when he's home, he's frantically trying to finish prepping for a class. I can't organize for him, because then he can't find anything. I'm trying to get him to take a few minutes every day to at least organize his office enough to make it usable; currently it's not and he's slowly taking over mine as well. I'm thinking about leaving yarn everywhere to discourage this practice.

Knitting-wise, I'm done with 22 out of 40 repeats on the Stripes and Torchon Shawl for my SIL. It's going to be huge when it's done; I don't know if I should block it or not. If I do block it, I'll probably spritz it with water and pin it out, rather than soaking it. But I've slowed down on that, in part because I'm afraid I might run short of yarn on the edging. I weighed what I have left, and tried to guesstimate how many grams I'm using per repeat, but I didn't weigh how much I had before I started the border (or even before I joined this current ball of yarn), so I can only guess. And that guess looks to be a couple of grams short. I should just power through the edging, get to the end and know for certain--that way I can decide how to deal with it, and if I need more yarn have a shot at getting it before Christmas.

G's worn his seamless hybrid sweater a couple of times; he really likes it. So much that he wants one in a sort of rust color (we'll see how long it takes to find a color that matches his description--it took a long time for him to find a green he liked). I'm not even going to look for yarn until at least January, though.

I swatched for the Brat's sweater, and even washed the swatch. But that was weeks ago, and I probably should re-swatch before starting anything. I may not cast on this month; maybe I'll call it a plan, since November is National Knit a Sweater Month.

I have been knitting socks, though. I learned how to do a Magic Loop and love it. I learned to knit holding a long straight needle under my right arm, which makes for lovely even tension, but isn't at all useful when learning how to use circular or double-pointed needles. DPN, in particular, have always felt extremely awkward, and I sometimes get laddering where I change needles. With Magic Loop, no ladders. And no DPN to lose, making portable sock knitting more appealing. I finished a plain sock using the Jitterbug I bought at Knit Purl and I'm working on the second sock. (The Snicket sock, though--definitely SSS. It's odd how the thought of knitting another basic stockinette sock sounds just dandy, but following an actual pattern again brings out a strong desire to start something else.)

Stash-wise, I'm going strong. I bought the Namaste Executive bag from Webs; I was going to get it in rust, but they were sold out and it was on back order. So I asked them to send a black one, instead. So far, I really like it, although my tendency to overload my bags could be a problem--the bag is quite large. The inside is black, too, making it a little hard to see, and it doesn't have enough interior pockets for pens, etc, so I bought a couple of bright travel toiletries bags ($0.99 at Target) to keep odds and ends in.

I've also bought another skien of Socks that Rock, lightweight, in Carbon Dating (which seems to be a retired color; I can't find a picture to link to)--it should be here soon--and a skein of Cherry Tree Hill Merino Lace, in Wild Cherry--also should arrive within a few days. I bought both of them off of Ravelry, which is an evil, evil, enabling place that I cannot resist. Someone posted a link to JoAnn's last night--they have Namaste bags and a 50% off any one item coupon. The bags aren't label Namaste, but if you zoom in you can see the logo. I'm tempted to buy a messenger bag, as well. G (who is also an evil, evil enabler) suggested that I buy it, then I can say I got two bags that were 25% off each.

So fits and starts. I have a ton of things I should be doing--grading, first and foremost; laundry, dishes, reading, lesson prep, figuring out dinner--but I'm online instead. And no pictures in this post, since the light is bad--very overcast--and I can't muster up the enthusiasm to take a picture of the-border-that-will-not-end, or of one finished sock.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Knit Purl

I took a drive today, out to Sudbury MA, to visit Knit Purl (730 Boston Post Rd--no website yet!). It's a very nice store--well lit, and the owner was friendly. She let me wander around on my own but was chatty about the yarn I bought, and offered to order something I inquired about but that they were out of. There's a table for sitting and knitting, and while I was there there were four women working on projects and chatting about politics. All-in-all, a welcoming store.

I bought some sock yarn:
Colinette Jitter Bug in Monet--nice and squishy, although a little short on yardage (about 318). I don't think that will be much of an issue--I had some leftovers from my STR socks; I'll weight it eventually and figure out how much yarn each sock took.

I also finished the Melon scarf, and it's blocking:

Unblocked it was about 52" x 18"; blocked it's about 70" x 24", and I didn't stretch it very hard.
My Socks that Rock socks are done, as well:
Which puts me well on my way to accomplishing my October goals!

Monday, October 1, 2007

October goals

I've seen several bloggers (alas, I can't recall exactly who or where, at the moment) do a monthly project goals listing--I think that, with Christmas knitting looming, that I'm going to try and do the same. I like making lists. :)

So, to sum up September:
  1. Finished the Husband Sweater . Verdict: Fabulous! A great sweater that looks good on the DH, was fun to knit, and didn't take that long. I liked it so much I'm starting another one.
  2. Finished the Test Knit for Mama Llama. Verdict: I'm pretty happy with this one. The yarn was lovely, and pattern was easy enough to do but interesting enough to not get bored.
  3. Finished one Snicket sock, started and then frogged the second. Verdict: Meh. My cables are wonky and they take too much time and concentration to be good portable knitting. The finished product looks pretty good, though, and it was my first short-row heel. I'll finish the second sock eventually.
  4. Added most of the border to the Melon Scarf . Verdict: So far, so good--I've got about two repeats of the border, grafting, blocking, and end-weaving left. This should be done soon. I love the yarn I'm using for it, and would definitely get more of it.
  5. Cast on for a pair of portable socks--one down and I'm on the heel-flap for the second. Verdict: This is my first pair of basic, no-frills socks, and I love them. I'm also loving the STR yarn. This is probably the best pair of socks I've knit.
  6. Knit a swatch for the Brother Sweater and even ran it through the washer/dryer. Verdict: So far, so good--the yarn is easy to take care of, which is important, and I like the color. Now I just have to measure and do some math. If it comes out well, I may make a matching one for the nephew.
Stash accumulation:
  1. 4 skeins of Knit Picks Shine Worsted in Apple Green (for a baby sweater, most likely)
  2. 8 skeins of Plymouth Encore--7 in heathered green, 1 in heathered brown (for the Brother Sweater)
  3. 1 set of Knit Picks Harmony Options Interchangables, which I'm loving.
October Goals:
  1. Finish the melon scarf. This shouldn't be too hard, as I've only got about 16 rows of knitting left before I'm done with the border.
  2. Make a good start on the Brother Sweater. This also shouldn't be too hard, as I loved knitting my first seamless hybrid, and I can't wait to use my Harmony needles.
  3. Work on the Stripes and Torchon Scarf for my SIL's Christmas present. This will be more of a challenge, as each border repeat has taken me almost an hour, and I've got about a zillion repeats left to go.*
  4. Finish the portable socks. This should be pretty easy, as well--it's good mindless knitting.
  5. Learn how to knit socks on two circular needles. If I can find the time, and get the needles I need.
  6. Cast on for the second Snicket sock. More of a challenge, but not as hard as the S&T scarf!
As for stash, on the one hand, I don't really need anything. On the other, I have birthday money burning a hole in my pocket! I may place a small order to Knit Picks, and get a set of size 1 fixed circulars, since I want to learn how to knit socks on two circs. I'd also like a needle sizer from them to keep with my Harmony set. I've also been coveting a Namaste Executive bag and I really could use a new purse . . .

*This might be a slight exaggeration. It's more in the neighborhood of several dozen repeats.

Weekend round up!


Lunch at the Gloucester House (chowdah and lobstah)

and a walk on Crane Beach:

And a stop at Russell Orchards:

Followed by birthday cake for dinner!