Swatching, and the heel has been turned

Dear Lindsay,

Monday night here in ‘Merica. The day got away from me, as days are wont to do. But I do have knitting to share.

2014-09-23 12.39.31First for the new. I made a swatch with the wonderful Dream in Color Classy (colorway Some Summer Sky) for the Krydda cardigan that I’m swooning over. I got the yarn a couple of days before my new needles came (yes, I ordered the HiyaHiya interchangeable set in the large sizes to match my small set), so I smooshed and and squished the yarn for a couple of days, and then I dove on into the knitting. All I can say is yum, this is going to be a gorgeous sweater. Luckily enough, I got gauge on the first try (after washing) with the suggested needle size of 9, and I like the fabric. It’s got a nice amount of drape and it’s open enough that I shouldn’t find myself overheating too much in it (as I’ve said before, menopause is not for sissies).

And then there’s sock #2 of Rose Ribs finally looking sock-like. I would be further than this, but I had a mishap last night into the second repeat in the instep, and I ended up frogging back to the heel flap, fortunately being able to pick up the instep stitches, and then turned the heel again, picked up the gussets, and got going. I’m now 3 pattern repeats into the foot with only 7 more to go until it’s time for the toe. A couple of evenings of TV knitting should but the finishing touches on this sock. It’s looking good, no?

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On the non-knitting front, I have elected to work through English Composition II before I finish my paper comparing art periods (tragically, the Dutch Golden Age is not a period that was on the list of options, neither was Art Nouveau which is one that I love, can we talk about the gorgeousness that is Klimt?).  I’m smart, and I have good natural writing ability, but I need a class that will teach me to to research properly using good scholarly sources before I go comparing social conditions and style characteristics of art periods. Composition II has already taught me how to use the online library to my best advantage, which is a topic that hadn’t yet been covered in my previous courses. So I’ll get back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (my chosen periods) in a few weeks, after I write a 10-15 page research paper on a topic that’s “debateable.” Piece o’ cake, right?

Oh, and it was cool today, and rained, so when I had to venture out into the world, I decided to take the Almondine socks out for a spin.  I hadn’t really put them on since I finished them and loaded them into the sock drawer, but I’m thinking they’re going to be favorites. The yarn is gorgeous, they fit really well, and they were super warm and comfortable. 2014-06-30 15.23.52I know you’ve seen them, but I can’t resist showing them off again (also sometimes people who aren’t us might actually be reading this, and they need to see these socks).

I’m so glad to hear that a permanent position may work out for you after all. Any organization that can have you working for them is lucky, and any organization that blows a chance to have you work for them is foolish. And I’m not saying that just to blow sunshine up your backside; I truly mean that.

Anyway, research and knitting are calling my name. Knitting goal for the week, let’s finish the Rose Ribs and get them into the sock drawer!

Love,

Connie

Progress Update: Nantucket Red

Dear Connie,

It has actually been an okay week out here.  I am doing a bit better on the job front and a permanent position might just work out.  But enough of that; on to the knitting!

Last week when I posted I had about 6″ of the back done.  Here we are:

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Back done and speeding up through the left front.

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The pictures don’t require much narrative, but I’m really loving this yarn.  I think it will smooth out nicely when blocked, but right now it’s kind of nobbly and funky.

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There was a little bit of drama on the bust increases.  As you are well aware, I am chesty in the same way that Okinawa is humid (jeebus christ, Okinawa is soooo humid).  I thought I’d try my hand at short row bust increases, but picking up the wraps looked AWFUL.  So I’m doing some increases on the seam side that I’ll cut down again when I’m shaping above the arm.

Now, the challenge of the button hunt!  This sweater is designed to have 5 hook and eye closures in the top half of it.  Because of the pretty chocolate-y taupe color of the yarn, I’m not positive what I want to do.  Still, Etsy hunting can be all kinds of fun.

Hope your week was good too.

Love, Lindsay

Okinawa Update – Bulleted Edition!

Dear Connie –

In response to the many fabulous happenings in your life:

  • I would pick the Dutch Golden Age (Vermeer, specifically) and Cubism (Picasso, naturally).  Ultra reality via the camera obscura vs. a twisty, unreal reality!
  • Your Rose Ribs look amazing and I think 1st Sock Syndrome may be the new knitterly catch phrase.
  • The Hazel Knits is perfect!  I think I’m going to frog my misbegotten progress on Knot Sock and start over.  Light fingering on size 0?  Who could have predicted they would turn out small?!

Now, to business on this side of the Pacific.  Last week was my birthday (meh) and my family was kind enough to send me all that nice linen yarn we picked up on the last yarn crawl.  I figured it was going to be a depressing kind of weekend, and it could be improved by the casting on of new projects.

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This is Nantucket Red by Thea Colman in Zooey by Juniper Moon Farm.  I’ve got about 13″ of the back done since this picture was taken.

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This is the DROPS 118-19 Wrap-round Jacket in Lago by Berocco.  I haven’t gotten too much done on this, because you really need the right kind of light to knit with black yarn.  But it is sooooooo soft.  I brought it to Knit Night last night just so people could pet a skein.

Other birthday developments:

  • I got to move out of my AWFUL hotel and into a much nicer one for my remaining 6 weeks.
  • I got to go to a roller derby bout with some of the women from my knitting group – sidebar: it was AWESOME.
  • I got to cook – actually cook! – in my hotel.  I’ve been limited to microwave use these last 5 weeks, and it was quite a thrill to dice and blanch vegetables and zest a lemon.
  • I found a restaurant nearby that makes a very good martini.  The last time I had a martini here was catastrophic, and the bar HAD NO OLIVES.  How does that happen?

So, all in all, it could have been much worse.  As of this writing, I have 38 more days before I can get on a plane back to the real world.

Not that I’m counting.

Love Lindsay

Of Socks and Yarn and Yarn for Socks

Dear Lindsay,

This week has been a good week for knitting. My last day of working for my former employer was Wednesday, and I plunged right into my new job (all psychiatry work all the time; which is really interesting work, but also really repetitive and once I get a little more used to it, I will be able to really make some good $$). So far, I’ve only been allowed to work a couple of hours a day, as I’m still in training and limited to 5 reports per day so that the QA staff can look at all of them. So, I’ve been sort of at loose ends for much of the last few days. I’ve been knitting and binge watching Eureka because, for the life of me, I cannot pick 2 historical periods in art history to write about for my next class. It might help if I could just pick a couple of pieces of art and write about them and their corresponding periods, but I tend to like a lot of things, and when faced with an overwhelming array of items to choose from, I tend to shut down for a little while. It’s not my best personality feature, but over the years, I’ve learned that it takes a a little time, and then the right answer will occur to me as I think about it and other things. A novelist I like had a quote on Facebook recently that was to the effect of, “just because I’m not typing, it doesn’t mean I’m not writing.” That’s quite similar to my process.

But to the knitting. Here’s my current progress picture. All the leg of sock #2 is done and I’ve knit the heel flap. I didn’t turn the heel yesterday because the football game went into overtime, and at that point, I thought that it was possible I may have gotten caught up in the excitement and knit too many rows in the heel flap. I didn’t have sock #1 with me to compare at the time, so I put #2 away until I could confirm the right length.

2014-09-22 12.47.17That’s where I am now, heel flap is the appropriate length, and next I will turn the heel and get started on the foot. This sock is going much more quickly than sock #1, and I sometimes wonder if I don’t have reverse second sock syndrome (would that be first sock syndrome?), wherein sock #1 takes me forever, but sock #2 almost seems to knit itself. Surely other people have this phenomenon. I like to think I’m special, but realistically I know that I can’t be unique in this knitting peculiarity.

And then there’s this.

2014-09-19 14.53.48I know you’ve seen this picture already, but it’s so pretty (and so squishy) that I had to show it off again. I do believe that, when I manage to get to it, the Krydda cardigan from the new Knitty will be beautiful in this. I also ordered the larger set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles, which I need to make this, but for some reason, the USPS sent them to Spokane for an overnight stay before sending them to the correct side of the state, and even though they were mailed priority before the yarn was mailed, they have yet to arrive here. Once they do, I will take a little time to make a swatch, but then I will go back to finishing up Rose Ribs and working on the Knot Sock for our KAL so that I can try to catch up with you. Still thinking about yarn for that one, maybe this one? 2014-06-30 08.03.16 It’s from our last yarn crawl, and it is awfully pretty. I think it will show that pattern well.

In the meanwhile, it’s cloudy today, and it might actually rain, so it’s a good thing that the equinox is tomorrow; the weather isn’t jumping ahead of the season too much. I for one, am looking forward to cooler weather and cooler nights, but I must say, I can’t remember a year in which I was able to wait until this late in September before I broke down and turned on the heat, so this prolonged summer has been good for my wallet, if not my ability to sleep. It’s a good thing I’m single right now; no sane person would be able to tolerate having the covers flung onto and then snatched off his body 17 times throughout the night, and I don’t need an(other) insane person in my life.

I miss you, my friend, and I look forward to seeing your post this week, whenever your technical issues have been solved,

Love,
Connie

My Kid Is Weird and I Love It

Dear Connie,

It is getting a bit late here, so I’m going to keep this one brief.  Leah, my beloved little girl, asked me for a “skeleton stuffed animal”.  I couldn’t find much in the way of knitting patterns (much more crochet), so I had to improvise.2014-09-15 21.34.10

This is the Voodoo You Love Me pattern by Susan Claudino.  The skeleton embroidery is all mine.2014-09-15 21.34.27

He’s still missing an arm and a leg, but I am really happy with how he’s turned out.

Funny tidbit – it is hard to find polyfil in Okinawa.  My knitting group gave me some shopping ideas of places around the island, but one woman suggested I just buy a cheap pillow from the Exchange and use the stuffing.  It worked perfectly!

So, this little cutie will be on his way back to WA in time for Halloween.  (Not to mention he has been an excellent diversion for me.)

Love Lindsay

I shall call it 10 credits

Dear Lindsay,

Today I finally finished sock #1 of Rose Ribs (and I got a healthy start into sock #2 while watching football). Obviously I have most of a second sock to finish (I’ve completed 3 of the 10 leg repeats, and then there’s everything else), but also during the time that I’ve been knitting this sock on June 30 I earned 10 competency units (although in my head I call them credits, and I’ll have 12 by the time the week is over), worked full-time, lost 5 pounds, took a chunk out of my thumb, and did some job hunting. It’s been a busy summer to say the least.

Here’s sock #1 in all her glory.

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I do really love this yarn. It’s Knit Picks Bare dyed by one of my friends from the days of ADWOFF.  The color is really, really lovely, and you can see in the stockinette portions the shifts in tone.  I’d be bored with the knitting in plain stockinette, and they’d take forever because I was bored, but I would love the FO; they’d be gorgeous.

Meanwhile, time to watch a movie, but not knit anymore tonight. The thumb injury while basically healed, is throbbing just a touch, probably because I gripped the needles super hard while cursing at the TV. I hate it when the Seahawks lose, but I stayed and watched until the bitter end, knitting the whole time. It was such a good luck charm last year, but doesn’t seem to have the same effect this season.

Can’t wait to see what you have this week,

Connie

How did it get to be Tuesday already?

Dear Lindsay, 

So, it’s Tuesday already, and essentially what happened is that I forgot to look on Sunday to see if you had written a post, because for some reason, I’m not getting e-mail when you do, and I really ought to be. That’s why I’m late; I’m kind of flaky right now. 

However, as you can see, I have been knitting! Whee! The thumb is better (not 100%, but it’s no longer painful and it’s not bandaged).  Yesterday while I was doing school work, there were a lot of videos to watch. Videos that were anywhere from 25 to 55 minutes, so I did what any self-respecting knitter would do, I grabbed my sock and knit my way along.  I have a total of 7 pattern repeats done in the instep/foot section now, and I’m looking at at least 4-5 more before I’m ready for the toe. I think; I’ll try it on again after 3 more repeats and see what’s what 

2014-09-08 21.52.54It is a pretty sock, isn’t it?

Anyway, school is going well; I’m motoring my way through Literature, Arts, and the Humanities (although the stuff about ethics and moral relativism isn’t exactly scintillating material),and I’m looking at what comes after this class.  This is the last of the classes to meet my minimum CU (compentency unit) requirement for the 6-month term. Classes I take in addition to these first 4 are how I will accelerate my degree and finish more quickly. Because I’m shooting for double the minimum on CUs, I’m looking at probably 4 more classes before the end of the year: In all likelihood, those will be the second half of this course (it’s a 2-parter, one with an objective proctored test taken with a webcam and the other part has 2 papers two write), then English Comp II (since English 101 at UMUC in 1987 transferred in for English Comp I), then probably Data Analytics and Information Governance (be still my heart), and Medical Terminology (which I should be able to test out of). If I have time left after those, I’ll come up with more. 

There is something interesting coming up (and good interesting, not Chinese curse interesting), but it’s not “official” yet, at least not internet official. Once it’s official, I won’t shut up about it, at least not for a while. 

In the meantime, in doing my reading for my current class, something struck me about Friends. In philosophical terms, Phoebe is a psychological egoist. She says that people are always motivated by self-interest even when they perform acts of altruism (The One Where Phoebe Hates PBS Season 5, episode 4, and yes I looked it up on IMDb). It’s so nice to know that I can put a name to Phoebe’s philosophy and moral code. I always assumed she was sort of random, but now I see that she’s actually more carefully thought out than I had realized. Another reason to love Friends. 

Anyway, as always, I’m sorry that work there is not going well and that you’re hot and sweaty and missing your family. This will all be over soon(ish).  Promise. 

Love,

Connie