Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why I hate spring

Summer used to be my least favorite season, but in recent years spring has taken its place. How could anyone hate spring, you ask? Well. It began with a series of Really Bad Apartments. All of which had been masquerading as perfectly decent places to live. Until spring came, that is...

  • Spring in Apartment #1 – Indoor rain. ‘Nuff said? Oh, but wait, there's more. Bats.
  • Spring in Apartment #2 – Carpenter ants. Inch-long ants with wings swarming in my living room every afternoon. Literally swarming. The nest was in my section of the wall.
  • Spring in Apartment #3 – Every other crawly thing possible in upstate New York.
  • Spring in Apartment #4 – Borer bees. Eventually even the mail carrier refused to come onto the porch. At least that got the landlord’s attention.
  • Spring in Apartment #5 – Pests of another kind entirely. Foul-mouthed children running wild. Winter at least kept them indoors, behind closed windows.
  • Spring in Apartment #6 – Centipedes. Lots and lots of centipedes.

So, yeah, I hate spring. Over these past years I've learned to dread the return of warm, sunny days. Sure, I sigh with relief the first day I can open the windows and leave the heavy coat at home. But part of me wonders what all that warmth will bring out of the walls this time.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Yes, I am a geek

The second I saw the pattern for the Big Damn Sweater, I had to knit it. Had to. When I saw Wash wearing it on Firefly, I wanted it. Now some clever people have recreated the pattern from screen shots. Very, very shiny.

As usual when it comes to must-knit-now patterns, nothing in my stash would work. I had to order new yarn. Had to. The 3-ply Fisherman Yarn from Bartlett Yarns is perfect. It's undyed yarn, Light Sheeps Gray, which should show off the cables nicely (guess I'd better learn how to cable). It arrived today and made doing or thinking about anything else very, very difficult.

The Littlest Grinnellian Hoodie

I have a lot of catching up to do. I keep drafting posts in my head but I never get around to actually writing them. Possibly because I keep drafting them in my head when I should be doing other things, or when I'm nowhere near a computer. So I plan on writing a string of posts, more or less broken up by events as they happened, but not necessarily in the same order. I don't think my non-existent readers will mind.

So let's start with some actual knitting. Sadly, I don't have very many knitting projects to my name this past year or so. A pair of socks here, a scarf there. My favorite finished object is a sweater for my college friends' new baby. Well, sort of new baby. He was born in April, and I enthusiastically started the sweater in May. But I have only recently finished it. It wasn't a difficult pattern, so I don't know why it's taken me so long. But at long last, here it is...

The pattern is Pumpkin, by Kim Hargreaves. The yarn is T'ika, from Mirasol Yarn. This was a delicious yarn to knit with -- the softest cotton yarn I've ever touched. I chose red and black because those are the college colors of our alma mater. It was fun to break so far out of the expected baby colors. Why knit baby clothes in pastels anyway? Babies are messy -- they make stains. This sweater will hide them nicely. And people with more experience with babies that I have assure me that the sweater will easily fit the now-nine-month-old with room to grow.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Habit forming

Last night I went to Franklin Habit's book signing for It Itches at Loopy Yarns. It's great to have a bit of Franklin to enjoy offline. The Panopticon has long been my favorite knit blog. I discovered it in the summer of 2006, around the time that Franklin was squiring a group of donors around the Mediterranean for work. I found smart and funny prose accompanied by delightful cartoons and, on occasion, stunning photographs (love, love, love the oil lamps). I've been hooked ever since.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In lieu of actual knitting

The man wearing this tie was nice enough to let me take a picture. But then, how could someone who would wear such a tie not be nice?

Friday, September 19, 2008

More on historic fiber arts

BibliOdyssey continues dish out the fiber images. Today it features several illustrations from Kurtzweil (1550), by Jörg Wickram (~1505-1562). One includes a niddy-noddy. I'd love to know what the poem illustrated by this woodcut says. I'll look into it, then add the translation if I can.

UPDATE: A kind friend was able to offer a summary -- "The gist of it is that someone is telling some guy to help with 'winding thread & yarn', saying that it will not hurt his honor/reputation to do so. ("Just do it. It won't kill ya," as my mom would've said.)"

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Needles Excellency

Gotta love it when favorite things converge. This time it's needlework and rare books. The most recent post on BibliOdyssey features several illustrations from early lace modelbuchs. Along with this quotation from from The Needles Excellency: A New Booke wherin are diuers Admirable Workes wrought with the Needle, [1631] by John Taylor:
The Praise of the Needle

"To all dispersed sorts of ARTS and TRADES,
I writ the Needles praise (that never fades)
So long as Children shall be got or borne,
So long as Garments shall be made, or worne,
So long as Hemp or Flax or Sheepe shall beare
Their linnen-woolen fleeces yeare by yeare;
So long as Silk-wormes, with exhausted spoyle,
Of their own Entrailes, for mans gaine shall toyle:
Yea, till the world be quite dissolv'd and past;
So long at least, the Needles use shall last"
NOTE: You can see the entire Needles Excellency, but mind you, it's a 5.8 MB PDF file.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

I've been debating whether I even want to restart this blog. I don't expect anyone else to read it; and its original skill-building purpose has more or less been fulfilled. But lately I've felt like writing, so I guess I'm back, for a while at least. I still plan on keeping the content focused on knitting and other fiber-related topics, but other thoughts might sneak in from time to time. Now, for instance.

I've been a longtime fan of PBS, and never minded the pledge drives much when they kept the programming the same. You could call in after your favorite show, and say yes, I like this stuff -- carry on. But now the drives are all "special" programming. Self-help gurus and nostalgia-trip concerts aimed at their target audience. I used to joke that I'd know I had reached a certain age when they replaced "do-wop reunion" with The Clash.

I really should have seen it coming. Of course, I called in...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Movin' right along

I’d say sorry about not blogging much, but I don’t think anyone is reading this blog. Which is fine, since I started it mainly to get familiar with the technology while I was job hunting.

Speaking of job hunting, I have a new job!!!

I don’t know if my new workplace has any policies about employees blogging, so I won’t say where exactly. But I will say that it's my dream job and it’s in Chicago!

Not much knitting going on now, though I need to finish a baby jacket for a friend who is due next month. That might be all that gets done till I'm knitting in my new abode. But first, I have to find an abode... in Chicago... suitable for a librarian's salary...

Friday, June 1, 2007

If it's Thursday, I must be in Chicago

I don't know how people who travel for work all the time do it. I only had two back-to-back trips and it completely wiped me out. Two weeks ago I was in New York City, where I worked on this project...

and bought this yarn...

The new sock is made from Regia Bamboo. I'm really enjoying working with this stuff. The new yarn is from The Point, in Greenwich Village. It's a small shop and most of its stock was out of my price range, but the staff was very friendly and helpful. And since I consider yarn from out-of-town yarnshops to be my souvenirs, I had to get something. So I bought this one skein (sorry, I forget what it is), so I could make a lace scarf or some such.

But I woke up one morning in a panic because I forgot to reset my clock for Central time. Once I woke up a little more, I remembered that the Chicago trip was the following week, and I was in New York City. Besides, if I forgot to set my clock back, I'd be running early not late.

So the following week finds me in Chicago (with clock reset). Still working on the bamboo socks, still on a tight budget. But of course I have to go to Loopy Yarns. After all, it's walking distance from the hostel. How can I not go? I've been to Chicago a few times these last several months, and this shop is turning into one of my favorites. Great selection, great staff, and just plain comfy.

While I was there a teenage boy came in. One of the women (related, I think) working there talked to him about some yarn he had set aside to buy later and mentioned that he had several projects going now. He replied that they were just side projects. Now truly, there speaks a Knitter, dyed in the wool and addicted for life. I almost wanted to hug him. But I just bought some yarn for a side project of my own.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Memory Eternal

I finished stitching for the Mother's Day Project over Memorial Day weekend. I didn't plan it that way, but I'm glad that that's the way my schedule worked out. Like many people, I tend to forget about the reason for the holiday and just enjoy the day off. This year I took time to remember one woman who gave her life in service to this country. According to the official report,

"Pfc. Hannah L. Gunterman, 20, of Redlands, Calif., died on Sept. 4 in Taji, Iraq, from injuries suffered when she was struck by a vehicle. Gunterman was assigned to the 542nd Maintenance Company, 44th Corps Support Battalion, Fort Lewis, Wash."

According to one blogger's tribute I found, Hannah was an avid reader who loved Gone with the Wind and who started a library on the Fort Taji base. She left behind a husband and young son, as well as many other family members and friends who miss her terribly. May her memory be eternal.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Saying Goodbye to Lloyd Alexander

I never met Lloyd Alexander, but I feel as if I've lost a childhood friend. Mr. Alexander died this past Thursday, May 17, at the age of 83. According to The Washington Post and The New York Times, he wrote over 40 books, for which he received multiple awards.

To me, he wrote the books that made me a Reader. The five books of The Prydain Chronicles were my world as a child -- I had to read more -- more books by Lloyd Alexander -- more books of Welsh mythology -- more books like these -- more, more, more.

Thank you, Mr. Alexander.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Project

I spent much of yesterday working on the Mother's Day Project. ThreadingWater started this project as a way to honor the female Coalition members who have died in the Iraq War. I first heard about it on Franklin's blog, and thought it sounded like a wonderful way to remember these women.

So many lives have been lost in this war, so many lives changed by injuries. Whether you agree that this war should be fought or not, it hurts to see the names and faces of these people roll by when their deaths are announced. At my house, everything stops when the Honor Roll of the Dead is given at the end of the news. No one eats, no one talks, no one leaves the room. It feels like the least we can do to look into the faces and read the names of these men and women. I happen to believe that this war is wrong, but that doesn't change the fact that these men and women gave their lives for us.

So I'm giving just a little of my time to stitch one name, prayerfully and in awe of what Hannah Gunterman has already given.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Ready for winter

Or for excessive air conditioning. My desire for something to keep my hands and arms warm at work is sometimes year-round. Hence the red gauntlets, which are finally finished.

These are the elegant gauntlets from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch. I used just a little more than two skeins of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. It's a gorgeous yarn, and not too pricey for an accessory. I'd love to make a sweater out of this stuff, but such is not in my budget. But I can enjoy my gauntlets.

Now it's time to turn my attention to a new project. ThreadingWater has started the Mother's Day Project as a way to honor the female Coalition members who have died in the Iraq War. I'll write more about this project as I go along.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Finally, some knitting

At last, the purple stripe (aka Penelope) socks are finished. These are toe-up socks with short row toe and heel. I don't know why they gave me so much trouble. They're my fourth pair of socks, though they are the first pair made from sock yarn.

Here's a close up of the short row heel, which fits very well.

The toe turned out to be a bit too loose though. I'll need to adjust that for the next pair.

Now I can work on a long-neglected project -- the elegant gauntlets from Sally Melville's The Purl Stitch. You know you've been working on socks too long when #2 needles feel huge.