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August 26, 2007

The Knitwit Papers, Chapter I: Cameo's Janis Joplin Scarf

Date Begun: 01/17/2006
Date Completed: 01/27/2006
Yarn: Lion Brand Fun Fur in Lime, Bernat Boa in Mocking Bird
Needles: US15 (plastic)
Source: None. Made this one up. :-)
The Story:
Ok, so before you judge my taste and find it severely lacking, let me explain. A friend of mine showed up at work with a scarf done in a similar style - one color in the middle and a border around it. And this was back when I had just resumed my knitting, so I wanted to see if I could do something similar. I honestly can't remember if I really thought this color combination was going to be pretty or if I knew from the beginning that it would be.... well... eye-popping. Anyway, it turned out to be a bit brighter than I expected. One might even call it "garish". But questions of taste aside, I was pretty proud of the work on this one.

At some point in the process, I decided this was a perfect gift for a good friend who is always larger than life and twice as much fun. I know her birthday is in April, so I'm not 100% sure if I waited until her birthday to give it to her, or if I gave it to her right away. Either way, she loved it (or was too nice to tell me it was horrifying) and told me she'd dubbed it the "Janis Joplin Scarf", which is a better name than anything I came up with.

It's solid stockinette stitch all the way - anything more complicated would have been hidden by all the fuzz and fur, anyway. Aaaaand... well, there's not much more to say, except that it was unbelievably soft and felt like a stuffed toy. I kind of thought about making one for myself in colors a bit less blinding. Still might... someday.

August 20, 2007

The Knitwit Papers, Preface: Scarves

A couple weeks ago, I realized I needed to start documenting my knitting. I've been kicking around the idea for ages, but never really did anything about it. You know how it is - life happens and then it keeps happening until you just have to excuse yourself for a few minutes and take care of things. Anyway, I realized I needed to document my knitting because, well, it's become a big part of my life, taking hours and hours of my time and way more of my money than I care to think about. :-) But mainly, I needed to do this because I get a lot of compliments on my work (awww, shucks) and I can't ever remember what yarns I used, what needles I used, or how long these things took to make.

So I started thinking about how to document this. First, I thought maybe I should get a journal and write things down. After all, I do keep at least one yarn label from every project, so I always know what colors, etc. I used, and that would be best kept in some sort of physical scrapbook or journal. And then I realized that was hardly a workable plan, since I'm terrible about keeping track of journals, let alone writing in them. Then I thought about how I have this blogging thing set up so I can support multiple blogs - maybe one for knitting and one for everything else. But the chances of me actually maintaining two blogs are slim.

And then I realized I already had the perfect place to document my knitting. I have an attentive audience (yay!) and this audience is exactly the people I want to see what I've been working on. There's also the added bonus that I can provide to other knitters the exact thing I've needed so many times as I develop my skills - an honest review of the patterns and yarns I use. I tend to use less expensive materials and I'm almost entirely self-taught, which is not true of the vast majority of knitting bloggers out there. They generally prefer exotic, expensive yarns that I also like, but generally can't justify the cost of.

So I present to you my newest time waster - The Knitwit Papers. I'll be putting up a bunch of these in the next few days (I hope) to cover all the projects I've long since completed, and I hope to file a new installment of The Knitwit Papers with each new project I finish. Let me know what you think - this has been in the works for well over a week and I'm interested in your reaction. Oh! And also - I'm trying something new with the pictures, so if you click on them, they'll show you a bigger version. Click on the picture again to make it go away.

Date Begun: Various
Date Completed: Various
Yarn: (L to R) Scarf 1: Lion Brand Lion Suede in Sage
Scarf 2: Lion Brand Homespun in Delft and White
Scarf 3: Moda Dea Curious in Ivory
Scarf 4: Lion Brand Homespun in Olive and White
Needles: Scarf 1: US8 Circular (metal)
Scarf 2: US10 Circular (metal)
Scarf 3: US15 (plastic)
Scarf 4: US10 Circular (metal)
Source: Scarf 1: My own design
Scarf 2: Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, Wavy Gravy
Scarf 3: Scarves: A Knitter's Dozen, Doin' The Twist
Scarf 4: Scarves: A Knitter's Dozen, Sliding Garter
The Story:
I'm not sure exactly when the knitting bug struck, but it started with a series of scarves. There were others that I don't have pictures of, and some that I've chosen to highlight separately, but this is a pretty good representation of what happened when this all began. So, a really quick rundown of the scarves here:

Scarf 1: I think this is the last knit of the scarves shown. It's actually the second I did in this same style, which is just a simple seed stitch done with an awesome suede yarn. I made one of these with really long fringe for a friend at work last Christmas and Schondy decided he liked it so much he wanted one just like it (without the fringe, of course). This was the scarf that forced me to learn Continental-style knitting as it would have otherwise taken me a hundred years to do this English-style. The result is very soft.

Scarf 2: Of all the scarves I've knit, this is probably my favorite for the way it looks, but my least favorite for the way it wears. I made this a couple years ago, I think, when I was just rediscovering knitting. It was just a simple garter stitch with an excellent introduction to increasing and decreasing (for obvious reasons), and I was so pleased with the way it came out. Unfortunately, it's a bit too bulky since I used two strands of yarn (one white, one blue) held together and it just sits a little too stiffly around the neck. The fringe is a combination of all kinds of things - yarn, ribbon, strings of fake pearls - and that's one of my other favorite things about this one. If I had it to do over again, I would have used either only one of the yarns or larger needles to make it less dense, and I would probably make it a bit longer.

Scarf 3: So if the previous scarf was too short, this is where all that extra length went. This one kind of got away from me because I had two balls of yarn and I wanted to use them both completely up. You can't tell it in the pictures because I looped the extra around the pergola, but trust me - this is the longest scarf ever. I have to loop it around my neck about 4 times just to keep it off the ground. This one was done on big fat needles with a drop stitch, which made it even more loopy, and it's the coolest thing to play with ever. By pulling on the sides, you can stretch it out to probably 2 feet wide. The yarn is what makes it look like it's coming apart - Schondy says it looks like we let Deliah shred it - but it's actually quite sturdy and I wear it often.

Scarf 4: The sliding garter was an experiment. There was a very interesting pattern in the book and it took me about a hundred readings of the pattern to finally understand what it was telling me, but once I understood, I realized this would be a great guy's scarf. That was when I decided Schondy needed a scarf, and since his favorite color was green, well, this is the result. The method for this one was fascinating, using two strands of yarn, but only one of them at a time, so you basically only turn your knitting once every two rows. It's just a simple garter, but up close, it looks very unusual and it's hard to tell why. :-)

August 17, 2007

Look, ma! Friends!

Ever since my dearest friend in the whole world left to go be a big-time executive, I've been a little (okay, a lot) lonely. Don't get me wrong - I adore my work friends and I have one or two very close friends outside of work, but her leaving kind of put a hole in my life.

On Wednesday, I decided to do something about it and was poking around the website for a knitting store in the area. I discovered there are knitting and crocheting groups associated with that store and the knitting group was meeting that night. I said it must be a sign that on the exact day I'm poking around, I discover a group that's meeting in, like 3 hours, and I ran home to get my knitting stuff as soon as I got off work.

So, now....

Yay! People! With which to hang out! And talk! And knit! It's almost like I have a social life.

August 13, 2007

Updates! Get Your Updates

The title kind of makes it sound more impressive than it really is. Sorry about that.

I just updated the link lists on the right side of the page and added a few new things. That's all.

So if you're a loyal reader, LOOKEE! New Stuff!
If you've never been here before.... you can't tell the difference. Enjoy!

August 9, 2007

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Holy cow! I have had a WEEK, let me tell you. It's been two weeks since I last posted, but it seriously feels like it's been a year. And here's why:

So I'll start with last Wednesday, July 31, when I took my car in to have it serviced. That wasn't any big deal, but it is a hy-uge disruption to my day, mostly because I had to be there at 9 to drop my car off, and there was this GUY. Older man. Probably very nice. But this particular day.... not so nice. And I unwittingly incurred his wrath when I was helped TWICE! Twice, I tell you! while the nice people at the dealership were trying to figure out what the devil he was trying to do. I don't think they were trying to hurt his feelings, but he was highly wounded. Basically, when I showed up, I waited patiently in line for the Service Rep to help me. And she did. Little did I know (found this out a little while later) that she was supposed to be helping him with... something. ANYway, how was I supposed to know this? I know not.

So, then, after I got all set up, I wandered into the sitting area with the hideously bad TV shows. I think this time it was Maury and he was talking to this couple where he got her pregnant when he was 18 and she was 14, but then they got married, but he still had to register as a sex offender and now they have a second baby and the wife is JUST NOW 18. But I digress. So I'm chillin', waiting for a ride to work, when this very nice older man sits down next to me and, despite my obvious interest in reading my book and being highly antisocial, insists on making comments about the people on Maury to me. Well.

Then they call him up to the desk and tell him that, yes, they'll take him to pick up his fiance, but they're going to have to take these other two nice people (me and another guy) to work first. Clearly something got lost in the translation there, but I didn't realize it until later. So we all piled into the van and the driver asked us where we were headed and I told him and he said, "oh, that's really close, I'll drop you off first." Well. Big mistake. HUGE. Because Mr. Previously-Very-Nice Man was under the impression that he was going to go get his fiance and take her back to the dealership first BEFORE me and the other guy went to work. And don't you know his fiance (Filangela or something) has worked there for 26 years and she can't just leave any time she wants and it's going to be hard to get there and it was right next to the dealership and in the time it's taken to drop this young lady (me) off, we could have been on our way and "I has the diabetus and my diabetics is acting up and don't you know I need medication!?!?". All. The. Way. To. Work. Bless the very nice driver who dropped me off first.

SO. Then there was the annoying part of having to pick up may car, but that was another whole fiasco because they're only open until 5:30, and I'm just getting going at work at 5:30, but that meant I had to leave work by 5, but that meant finding someone to take me to pick up my car. AND they hadn't called me to tell me my car was done, but I decided I needed my car, dammit, so I showed up at 5:30 and waited for someone to either hand me my keys or explain to me why a routine oil change took more than 8 hours. Thankfully, they handed me my keys.

And I think Wednesday was the day I finished my first sweater-type knitted thing. I've done socks, I've done scarves out the wazoo, I've done hats and dog sweaters and... well, all little things. So this was quite an accomplishment. I was quite pleased with myself. I hope to take pictures at some point and when I do, I'll tell you all about the project.

Thursday and Friday were both fairly calm and nothing remarkable happened, which was nice. :-) But on Friday, I was offered a pairs of tickets to see Rufus Wainwright, who just happens to be my favorite singer EVER, on Saturday night. Of course, I said yes. But first I had to make it through the rest of Friday (went to dinner with Schondy) and Saturday morning (obedience school with Lulu) and Saturday afternoon, until we left at 5:30 to drive up with the Mountain Winery to see the show. I don't have the pictures of the show on my laptop or I'd post them. I'll try to put them up later, but interestingly (and annoyingly), the best picture I have is from my iPhone (for Pete's sake!) of the opening act, A Fine Frenzy, who I also happen to adore. I wasn't supposed to have a camera at all, but I smuggled in my little Canon camera, too. I'm such a rebel. So I have a video of the encore. It was quite the spectacle.

The winery was beautiful and Schondy and I would both really like to go back sometime when we're actually allowed to have cameras so he can get some shots of... well... everything.

On Sunday, again it was kind of quiet, except that we HAD TO clean up the yard. It was in a sorry state because we'd been so busy and crazy. Otherwise, there's not much to tell about Sunday. I did finally figure out how I want to do the sewing/guest room and realized I needed to get cracking with selling our old furniture to make room. I posted my stuff on Craig's List, but as of today, no nibbles. I'm pretty much at the point of "Free! You haul!" if they don't sell. At least I TRIED to make a little money. I did get an email from someone presumably interested in them, but I'm not so sure it was a serious offer. One way or the other, this stuff needs to get out of my house NOW.

On Monday, Schondy's new camera arrived, so I immediately began starring in a photo-documentary. We have pictures of me cooking dinner, watching TV, playing with the dog, sleeping, and just about everything else. Schondy seems to have a knack for this photography thing, and I'm all about encouraging it. I keep thinking about how there are pictures of my parents all throughout their marriage. Or at least there seem to be. And Schondy and I have, like, 5 pictures of the two of us and that just seems sad to me. If we ever decide to have children, I'd like them to know that we haven't always been party poopers or hopelessly outdated.

And that brings us to Tuesday, when the WHOLE WORLD EXPLODED!!!!! Each time Schondy and I have travelled, we've had to make arrangements for the care of our babies while we're gone. Before Lulu, if we were just going to be gone a couple days, we'd leave the cats in the house and just ask someone to drop by once or twice to make sure everything was still standing. If we were gone longer, the cats would go to stay with either the vet or The Neighbors (who are SAINTS for helping us out, and, I would like to mention, OFFER to take the cats. I haven't asked them to do so in ages, and have, in fact, made other arrangements, only to have The Neighbors assure me they LOVE to keep the cats and, hey! Free pet care! Don't have to offer twice.) and it was all good. Now that we have Lulu, it's a tiny bit more complicated, but only because have to get Lulu to the PetsHotel and... making the same arrangements for the cats as what we've always done. See how this works? Cats to vet or friends (the cats don't care where they are, so long as there's occasional snuggles and food and a litter box), and Lulu to PetsHotel.

So apparently we are unusual in this respect that we wish to not inconvenience others with our extremely active and demanding little dog. Because a friend (Jim) at work left for Japan on Wednesday and needed someone to watch his dog while he is gone. And I? I am an idiot. Seriously. Because I said I'd take "Pochi" for a couple days, until I pass him on to the next poor sod for the weekend, who then passes him on to the last person, who keeps him until Jim returns. Now, Pochi is very, very sweet. He's a 7-month-old dachshund-black Lab mix (Yes, you read that right. Work on that visual for a minute.), so he's relatively small - only about 20 pounds - and he definitely has the dachshund face and the long dachshund body and tail. But he also has the black lab hyper-activity, plus the puppy hyper-activity and the DESPERATE NEED for ATTENTION NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!! And given that he's a slightly larger dog, he needs to run, which, if you've seen our backyard, you know, is not something we can provide space for at home. Lulu = tiny, so it hasn't been a problem for her. She could be quite happy running laps in a baby pool.

But, see, the crazy attention hogging and the lack of running space aren't the biggest problems. The biggest problem is that Pochi is currently being treated for Giardia, which, by the way, is HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS to.... wait for it.... cats, dogs and humans. And it means we're dealing with the most friendly and demanding HAZARDOUS WASTE-PRODUCING dog ever. I think Jim's exact wording was "don't let your own pets get too cozy with him". But did I mention he's part Lab? And friendly? We couldn't keep him from getting cozy with Lulu if we TRIED. So I'm thinking next week after Pochi is gone, I'll be taking Lulu to the vet and asking them for some preventative antibiotics. Happily, Pochi goes on to the next victim tomorrow. It's been nice for Lulu to have a playmate, no doubt, but I won't miss the 6am barking or cleaning of toxic messes. And the cats are SO looking forward to being able to walk around the house again. They've decided Pochi = evil, and I can't say I blame them. CLEARLY he does not have any cat-siblings at home.

The Lulu-playmate thing has been kind of nice, and yesterday, we took Lulu and Pochi to the park and let them run while Schondy practiced working with his camera to get action shots of them being dogs. Some of the pictures he got were really awesome. I'll try to grab some and get them posted here so you can see.

So now it's Thursday. The office is relatively quiet today, which is nice, and I have a ton of work to do, but I'm avoiding it in favor of documenting the last week (holy cow!) while I have the headspace and time to do so. Tomorrow is end-to-end meetings and, come this weekend, I'll be too pooped to lift my arms, let alone type a blog entry. Lulu graduates from obedience school Saturday morning, and I think that's pretty much the end of the line for her schooling. We're talking about sending her to Doggy Day Camp once a week or so after school is over so she can continue to get the social interaction. But I'm definitely going to enjoy having my Saturday mornings back for the sleepin'.

And that's why I've been terrible about calling. Or responding to your emails. I'm very sorry. It doesn't mean I love you any less. It just means I'm tangled up in leashes right now and will get back to you as soon as the dogs stop playing May Pole.

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