i have been remiss

in posting for months and months, and I am sorry! Life’s been absurdly busy, and while I’ve kept knitting I haven’t done a good job at all documenting and taking pictures since my last post.

I spent the summer taking an Anatomy class at JHU and working as a lifeguard at the YMCA. My aunt had a baby and I knit her a perfectly splendid BSJ.

Chloe in the BSJ

I knit some other things to, but again with the picture fail.

At the end of the summer I flew off to Ireland for my Junior semester abroad, which is where I am at the moment. Here I am, September 1st, just off the plane in Dublin and seriously jetlagged. That around my neck is the Gail (Nightsongs) shawl, miniaturized.

I went to the Aran Islands before classes began and knit my dad a truly Aran hat for his birthday.

The academics are not terribly challenging here, so I’ve been doing a lot of writing and a modicum of knitting. Several of the projects I brought stalled out when I realized I’d managed to come to Ireland without enough yarn (shocking!) to finish them.

But, that’s my life. I’m not really up on knitting blogs, either, having dropped behind tremendously when I stopped reading my Google reader every day, but I am still reading, slowly, about a month behind.

I hope you’re all well! <3

OH! Also yesterday I was walking about Dublin and I spotted a woman wearing a Clapotis. It was tremendously exciting, but she was gone before I could say something. /o\ Knitting secret handshake! Why must you fail me?!

Rhinebeck 2009

I finally got to go!

Okay, first apologies for my extralong unplanned hiatus. This year has been outrageously busy; I barely have time to knit, let alone talk about it. Unf.

So, Rhinebeck. Last spring I missed the Maryland S&W for the spring festival here at school, so this year when fall break and Rhinebeck lined up, I was determined to go!

The Highlights
I finished my FLS in the car at a rest stop in New York on my way down from Vermont from visiting a friend. Sewed on the buttons in a parking lot!

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Classy, no?

Animals!
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Meeting up with old friends and making new friends!
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The Ravelry party, no doubt.
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So many knitters taking over!
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(LOL)

Went back the second day for more animals and to purchase the yarn I’d fondled the day before.
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Then I ran into Jody, go figure!
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Too much fun.

So there’s my finished February Lady, as well as my Quincy and Esperanza hat and scarf set. Malabrigo. Awesome. I really love the Quincy (by Jared Flood) construction; it makes me feel incredibly intelligent as a knitter.

I’ve got my Christmas gifts in the works now… hopefully I can get them finished in time. Most of my knitting these days takes place in class because I don’t have time outside of class (!!!). Also, starting November 1st I’ll be working on another novel for NaNoWriMo, so that’ll be a giant time suck. I need to invent more hours in the day. Eep!

31 things in 248 days

So it’s been a long time since I talked about my 101 in 1001, but I thought since I’m nearing the end (<1 year) I ought to pull it out publicly and address what’s left. I have 31 more goals to deal with in 248 days before December 10, 2009, when I’m scheduled to be done. Some of these I plan to finish, some of them I plan to ignore or change. I think it’s a good idea to make these long-term goals, but my objectives have also changed in the last 753 days, and so I think I’ll poke some things around.

8. commit to recording 10 episodes of a weekly podcast
I think I’ll try to do this this summer, maybe. I like the idea of having my own podcast, but I wonder if I could get my sister in on it to make it more conversational and silly. Also I don’t want to do it while I’m at school. People would look at me funny.

11. knit Bayerische socks
I’m working on these now! They don’t have a deadline (except 12/10/09?), but they’re in progress.

13. knit a scarf for the Red Scarf Project
I should just do this one. It’s been on the list since the beginning, and I haven’t managed to do it. I will this year. Come October, I will knit a red scarf. One-Row Handspun?

23. refrain from biting skin on fingers for 2 months (0/60 days)
It’s been a long time since I “quit” biting my fingernails. I’m not totally broken of the habit, but my nails are longer and prettier for the most part. I still bite when I’m nervous or stressed. The skin around my fingers gets decent treatment, but I should try to just stay away from my hands in my mouth for 2 months. Let’s do this now! April 5, 2009 – June 4, 2009.

24. run at least 2 miles 4 days a week for 3 months
When I was working out for soccer, this mattered to me. Or, I think it was the “run yourself ugly” run 100 miles in 3 months, that sort of thing. I think I’ll change this to a goal of running at least 4 days a week in the morning while I’m home, before I go to work.

26. dye hair outrageous color
I’ve been thinking recently of cutting it short and dyeing it blue. I said, “you know what would be cool? Me with spiky blue hair.” Then I said, “you know what would be really inappropriate at Hopkins? Me with spiky blue hair.” Shit.

31. get 2 more ear piercings
This could happen this summer. I want them.

33. run in a 5k charity run
Even though I don’t like running, this is something I really do wish I could do. I wonder if I could find one this summer or fall to do.

34. run 5 miles
No longer interesting to me. How can I change this to be still fitness related, but more relevant to my life now?

42. finish all puzzles in Su Doku book
Hahaha! Oh if I had my Sudoku book, I could make this work. But I think it’s at home. Or something.

45. ride a non-upside-down roller coaster again
46. ride an upside-down roller coaster
These two go hand in hand, and require that I go to an amusement park. Maybe? Maybe no?

47. stay up all night
So far I’ve actually avoiding doing this at college, but I wonder if it would ever serve me. I think this is not so much a goal as a I’ll-remember-it-if-it-happens.

48. go skiing
=/ If it snows?

49. record chapters of an audio book (librivox)
CraftLit is having the reading done by the listeners now, I think. Maybe I could record a few chapters for the next book Heather does!

50. get a domain name and use it
If I had a purpose… I’d like to host this blog on my own (or through wordpress). I’m not sure what else I’d put in my website. Maybe a tiny yarn store.

56. win at Scrabble
My dad is too fucking good at Scrabble to make this easy. We’ve been playing on Facebook, but he keeps beating me. Even a Facebook win would be good enough for this goal. =P

60. cook dinner once a month for 6 months
I’m going to change this to twice a month during the summer, when it’s actually feasible.

61. eat vegetarian for 2 weeks
Not hard. My sister and my boyfriend are both vegetarians– I just need to follow in their footsteps for a bit. Or I could start now and just do it at school. I just keep forgetting to.

71. have $5,000 in bank account for “nest egg”
Hopefully this will become a reality this summer when I make some moneys. It’s just a line to hit– it doesn’t have to stay that way– but I want to make it happen.

73. buy nothing (except gas) for 1 month
Since I spend a lot less money now that I’m at school, I’m not sure if this goal makes sense. I’m going to spend money this summer, when I am driving, as opposed to less here when I’m not driving. I should rethink this one.

75. sell old clothes/toys/things in yard/garage sale
Mostly unnecessary now, since our yard is not conducive to yard sales and my old clothes tend to head off to Value Village or Goodwill. Maybe just another purge of old clothes would be good.

79. fund some portion of tuition via scholarships (at least 10%)
This one’s tricky, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do about it. Hopefully when my sister goes to school, the ‘Ford will be more willing to give us some money. Otherwise we’re not really struggling, and I’ve lost interest in applying for scholarships, especially with all the other things I’ve got going on (ie. school work). Blah.

84. learn to drive stickshift
I hardly know anyone who drives stick anymore. Not even my granddad.

85. learn basic French/German
Possible, but the intro language classes here are right in the way of my science classes, which have priority. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe just place out of my language requirement (SAT IIs!) and call it a day.

86. Go without swearing for 1 full month
Almost impossible. Wonder if it’s worth it.

87. get rid of 7 things a week for 2 months
I could do this this summer also. Now that I know what I live with happily away from home, I feel like I could get rid of a lot of things I just don’t notice are there.

90. send a postcard to PostSecret
We had a mini-PostSecret event here, but I didn’t get a chance to put a secret in. I don’t really have any secrets that need sent away like that. But maybe I’ll find one.

91. build a sandcastle
I promise to do this when I’m at the beach, June 14-20. Promise.

94. refrain from claiming to hate things for 1 week
I think this was from when I said “I hate my life” or “I hate blah” a lot. I don’t say that as much anymore. I don’t have a lot of things to hate, which is good!

100. Visit Canada
We are so doing this when we take Sarah to school. I’m so excited.

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Attention Deficit

Well, a week into lazy summer break (okay, two, but the first was senior week and doesn’t count), I’m having a fairly bad case of knitter’s attention deficit. I have lots of works in progress. Perhaps too many, and at times I feel guilty that I’m abandoning things, but I’m trying to keep in the mindset that I can knit what I want, when I want. This more or less works, unless I’m on a deadline.

For example, just this week I finished up another pair of Fingerless Mitts for a friend’s mum’s birthday. I knit them on US size 5s, in Frog Tree Alpaca (sport), and they are very cute. I’m hoping her mum is pleased.
Ellen's fingerless mitts

I haven’t finished my Mad Sapphire Weave socks, because I had to sacrifice the needles to using them for my two-socks-on-two-circs class at Lovelyarns. So they are tucked away at the moment in a bag on my bookshelf, waiting for their turn again. They are medium priority at the moment.

Instead, I am working on these simple stockinette socks (is there an echo in here?), in birthday-gift-yarn: Regia 4-ply sock yarn in a crazy Kaffe Fasset colorway. I wouldn’t normally pick it for myself, but they’re growing on me.
Kaffe Stripe Socks

Also getting some attention is the new arrival: the Elinor tunic.
Elinor tunic
I love how this is made. It’s a top down, sleeveless tunic. You knit the back, and then pick up the provisional cast-on and knit the front, and then you join under the armholes. I’m into the decrease section, which seems a bit early, but I’m trusting it so far. I’m excited about getting to wear this one.

But I may put it down for these other, more pressing, not-for-me projects.

I owe my dad a scarf. I promised to knit him a new scarf for Christmas, but never started it. As a graduation present, my aunt and uncle brought me 100% Baby Alpaca yarn from Australia, which is the perfect amount/color/shade/fiber for a scarf for my dad! Hooray!
100% Baby Alpaca
I love that blue. Yum. I think it’s going to become the Palindrome scarf, which is a reversible cabled scarf. Very cool.

Also, I need to knit my sister (who is currently painting the Tuscan landscape in Italy, thankyouverymuch) a hat. When I asked her what yarn she wanted, and offered her some handspun, etc, she chose some merino/silk roving that I hadn’t spun yet. I got the roving from Aija at sockpr0n as an add-on gift when I won the drawing for her alpaca rovingfiber, and it is really something. It’s beautiful and shiny and drafts wonderfully. And it’s fluffy.
Handspun
See the shine! I love it. Pretty.

And finally, the new boy, henceforth referred to as The Playwright, requested a hat as well. I shall knit him one in the orange O-Wool which I am using for the Elinor tunic as an accent color. I think it’s CC3, and is only used a very little amount. So I think I’ll knit the hat and hope for the best in terms of leftovers. =D
Orange O-Wool

Soon we will be leaving on our big cross country trip. I have been charged with blogging the whole thing, so I guess I’ll make a new blog for that at some point. I want to take the three projects above with me to work on so I can finish them before I’m off to college. Yikes. I might start dad’s scarf today, or The Playwright’s hat. I can’t start my sister’s hat until I’m done spinning. Here’s hoping I have enough spun. If not, I’ll use the handspun for the ribbing, or the body, and I’ll supplement something (maybe the same Baby Alpaca) for the rest. I love planning knitting.

Sorry for the spam earlier! Love.

and now some yarn spam

So I spent some time yesterday playing out in the backyard with yarn and dyes, and I’ve now put up on etsy.com my first evarr sock yarn for sale.

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=12665250

What do you think? I have another skein I’ve dyed that’s fit for consumption (the third skein is a bit short, I think), that’s the most fabulous emerald and turquoise and teal. I’ll be putting that up later, once I’ve wrangled it into submission on the skein holder. Yum yum yum.

I love yarn.

drive-by WIP post

So, I don’t have any pictures to show you today because I think my mum took the camera to work and didn’t bring it back, so instead I’ll just bore you with chatter.

My first WIP priority (still) is the Icarus shawl for my graduation. I’m 2 rows into the last 24 row chart, and each row must have over 400 stitches on it, because they take almost half an hour each. I have 10 days to finish the shawl. I want to be blocking it at the latest next Saturday, so I’ve got to push through and get this done! It’s beautiful, though, and I’ve gotten to the beads too early, so I keep shoving them down the yarn wondering if I got too ambitious and put them on way early. At any rate, I need to do two more rows today to keep on track and at a reasonable pace.

The second thing I’m working on is The Project Sweater, which I have tried on and decided looks ridiculous, but I’ll keep going for the sake of the project. I’m very tempted, however, once I’ve shown it off and gone “ooer sweater” to rip it out and fix the outrageous short rows and stupidly huge stripes. It’s a bit silly. Anyway, it’s not as if the knitting part is the hard part, but it is a learning part. It’s all good.

Thirdly I am working on a pair of Mad Color Weave socks in the Socks that Rock in “Sapphire”, and they’re lovely. Sue at Lovelyarns was pondering trying to start an account with BMFA at TNNA next weekend, and so I pulled out the socks and showed her the yarn. She wasn’t impressed at the way it pooled, but I’m enjoying the colors and the way they get mixed up nicely by this pattern. I really like knitting with the STR. Yum. I’ve got to do a few more rows to get them to the heels for my class on Saturday, and I’m hoping both students come back. Aileen was pretty chill about the whole 2-socks-2-circs thing, but the other woman was quite frustrated with it. I don’t know. I love knitting my socks this way, but sometimes I think I forget that my brain handles engineering very well, and not everyone thinks the way I do.

Other projects are stalled out or put away for a while. I need to work primarily on Icarus before I can really pick anything back up or start anything new (like the Elinor tunic, which I am super excited for). But I will finish it! And I promise to post finished pictures-myself-included, in my dress, after graduation.

And, of course, don’t forget to check out the drawing for my 20th pair of socks, Uzume! It’s open till Friday night, then I’ll close the comments for a bit.

SPINNING WHEEL

(among other things)

Spinning wheel

Do you know, gentle readers, what this is? This is my spinning wheel. This is my spinning wheel that I built. This is my spinning wheel that I built with my own hands. I MADE A WHEEL. Okay, okay, I had help, and I used power tools, but… it’s my baby! And it’s not from a kit! We didn’t have a kit, or plans, or anything. Just lumber and something to copy.

the wheel

Man, it’s so beautiful. I think it needs a name. I think it’s a boy, and I think it needs a name. Help me out here. It also needs a single pilot hole drilled in one of the treadle supports because the leather strap (a.k.a. my dad’s old belt) needs to be connected and isn’t yet (and I don’t want to split the wood (again)).

I’ve spent months on this baby, and it’s so wonderful. It’s smooth and it’s pretty and it’s cherry and it’s mine. In every sense of the word. It’s a “copy” of an Ashford Traditional, but it’s my creation.

I’m showing it off at school tomorrow, and I’m excited to use it for the first time. I want to spin on it (but I can’t, see above not attached treadle).

Ooh, man. I love it.

Flyer

My favorite part is the maidens that don’t match. On the right you can see the maiden I bought at Sheep and Wool. On the left is the maiden fashioned as a substitute until I get another one that matches the one on the right. I think it’s so funny that one is beautiful and round and turned and one is SQUARE. It rocks. The flyer and bobbin I did not build. I did build the mother-of-all and the base, though, so they match the cherry wood.

Squee!

swatch

In related news, I have swatched for the Project Sweater. I think the 7s gave me the nicest fabric, so I think I might just cast on the final stage tonight!!!!

The yarn I dyed is ready…
project yarn

(mostly…)
purple/turquoise

And I can spin and dye more as I need it. Oh boy!

Also today, I pulled this little bastard…
beautiful zeke

off of the roof of our house. Picture me hanging out my sister’s bedroom window for half an hour trying to lasso a kitten out of the gutter with my sweatshirt and the handle of a bag. I have bruises all kinds of places. Freak. I love him. He’s fine, by the way.

Help me name my wheel!

Senior project: week one

I ought to be giving you a more complete run-down of what my project actually entails (and why I get to be at home for the next five weeks), but since it’s raining now and I kept forgetting last week to take pictures of the drum carder, I’ll do a bit of a slipshod job now and a more complete one later.

So what do I think I’m doing, not going to school? I’m working on my Senior Project, that’s what! At the end of Senior year, our school hands us seniors six weeks and says “Get out and do something useful.” Some kids go work in offices, with the mayor, or in a lab doing research, or with an animal hospital, or something. There are lots of things we’re doing this year. Me, I’m turning a sheep fleece into a sweater, all by hand.

In February, I got a fleece. I started washing it in my washing machine in early March. I took the fleece out to the back porch and picked all the crap and grass and stuff out of it (mostly).

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I separated it into sections and dumped it in the washing machine, which was full of hot water. I let it sit for half an hour or so, and came back and spun the water out. Then I refilled the machine tub and did it again. I washed each section about three times, some more, and then let it dry.

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Then I put all the washed fleece into a large tub and left it on my porch for a while.

Later, I started carding. I borrowed two sets of hand cards (and a spinning wheel) from a friend’s mother. I started to card my fleece by hand, which takes a long time. I had a few blocks off school, so I stayed home some mornings to card and watch my kitties run around in the back yard.

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Then I borrowed a drum carder! I was going to get a drum carder from the Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore, but they were taking so freaking long to get that worked out that I went ahead and found someone else who had one. It needed a little bit of repair (primarily the drive band thing), but I fixed it and started carding as soon as I had all day to work.

So that brings me to last week. Last Tuesday I started to card on the drum carder. I spent the days carding from about 9 to around 11:30 when I’d get bored. Then I’d have lunch, and check my email, and then go for a walk (keeping me a little bit mobile in my highly sedentary project). Then I’d come home and spin for a couple of hours and watch a movie (or a couple of episodes of 21 Jump Street).

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It’s working out really well. This week will involve more spinning than carding (because I’m almost finished carding and I have a pile of fiber to spin. Both of the bags in the picture below are full, and there’s even a pile of fiber on top of the blue one. Gah.

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Plus, wonder of wonders, I only have one bobbin. If anyone has or knows where I could get some Louet bobbins, that’d be awesome, because I’m going to have to skein up every bobbin-full if I expect to ply any of it. Rawr. I just navajo plied this first bobbin, and it’s soaking in a tupperware in my bathtub now (water leak protection).

On Friday, I played with dyes some and tried to dye a gradient.

Gradient Teal

It didn’t totally work, but I think the inner yarn there is lighter than the outer. It’s not what I was hoping for, but it was lots of fun to play, and I’m pleased with the yarn anyway.

I’ve also been working on some knitting projects too (although how soon I will be sick of knitting is not assured). I started a pair of plain stockinette socks to keep me busy. The Drunken Bees I like a lot, but I need to carry the chart around, and I’m not interested in heavy chart knitting right now. So I’m knitting these toe-up socks on size 1s out of Scout’s Socktoberfest colorway in the merino sock. It’s knitting up nicely, and fairly fast.

Socktoberfest socks

The other thing that’s seen the most action is Icarus:
Icarus

It’s getting bigger: stretched now it reaches the length of my arm (center top to where the needle is). I’m going to finish the first section and then see if I want to add some more repeats of the branches, or start on the feathers (section one ends in the middle of the chart, so if I want I can just knit the rest of the chart and begin again). I love the color changes.

icarus

The Firestarter

There must be something about extraordinary grief, frustration, anger, and self-pity that makes me knit like a train.

I mean that in the “speedy” sense, not the “steam engine whistle” sense. What?

I’ve been knitting a lot. A LOT. An almost absurd amount. I keep starting things and needing to knit and feel a sense of accomplishment, because it feels a lot like the rest of my world has been crushed like a can and there’s nothing I can do about it but knit. I feel trapped inside my own head, with all my ugly, angry, pathetic thoughts, and sometimes knitting helps, and sometimes it sticks me back in there as I stare at my hands.

I really miss my dad (he’s probably reading, hi dad!). He’s staying at my aunt’s house while they are in Australia, and taking care of their dog, and not getting up at 5am to drive an hour to get to work. He comes home on weekends, and it sucks. I really miss him, because everything is in upheaval and my mom works late one night a week and goes out another night, and I just haven’t been getting the attention I want. Maybe that’s selfish; it’s been all about me and crying and my pitiful self for the last six weeks, but my mom, I think, pays more attention to my (younger) sister than to me. She assumes I can take care of myself, and that’s true most of the time, but having my dad around means the attention is more evened out. I guess I’m tired of (or annoyed by) taking care of myself: I want someone to take care of me!

Since J and I broke up (cheating fucker) I’ve felt really lonely and lost. It’s getting better, I guess, but I’m hoping this is the depression stage so that I can move maybe on into acceptance. I saw a picture of him and his new little whore the other night, and I just lost it. I really hate thinking about him, and everything we did, and everything we had, and what I shoulda-woulda-coulda done, and blah blah blah bullshit.

I think knitting is helping. I guess knitting is helping. It feels like the one stable thing I can hold on to is my own knitting skillz, and that’s made me knit a bit like a madwoman. I’ve finished three things in March already– the Elefante, the hat, and now my Firestarters– and I can’t help myself. I keep starting things and knitting and being a bit insane.

I’m also spreading the bug. Molly came by Lovelyarns on Saturday and bought some bulky alpaca for her second scarf. I’m going to teach her how to do ribbing. Franny hasn’t been coming to knitting at lunch lately, but she’s got things to do I imagine. Julie picked knitting up again and told me a number of times how funny it was and hahaha she was doing it as her action for “old people” in acting class. I was like, Julie, hello, knitting isn’t just for your grandmother anymore, and she said, “Oh I knit her a scarf once!” Then in Physics she wouldn’t shut her mouth about how boring it was, and I was quite short tempered. STFU.

I miss my dad. I miss my shitty ex’s attention. He’s in town for his spring break (after spending the weekend boning his slut) and it’s the first time in two years that his being on break isn’t about us being together. It fucking sucks.

I want to knit selfishly and do nothing else. I want to work full time on my senior project. I started carding today and it was pretty sweet, although now my hands are tired. I have a long road ahead of me in the carding department.

Dude, I was totally going to post about my Firestarter socks that I finished this evening, but I obviously had other things on my brain.

I miss my dad.

Rogue update

Look!

crap rogue picture

I know that’s the shittiest picture ever, but let me tell you how hard it is to take a picture of a cardigan without any shoulders while wearing it at ten o’clock at night. It’s hard.

I need maybe one more skein of the Malabrigo worsted, and the lovely Erin agreed to bring me the skeins she has so I can finish it. I think hers are the same dyelot, but I don’t really care. I just want to finish this so I can snuggle up in it and feel better about everything.

I need a comfort sweater.

Also, I was at Lovelyarns yesterday evening, just sitting and knitting, and decided to spend the money I was going to spend on taking J to dinner instead on laceweight yarn for my graduation shawl. The girls all have to wear white dresses (or pantsuits, but I’m wearing a dress), and I decided a crowning achievement would be to have an accent shawl.

Jojoland harmony

I want to knit the Icarus Shawl from the summer ’07 Interweave Knits. I think it’s perfect, as shawls go. The Harmony has 880 yards per ball, so I should be set, though I haven’t checked gauge or anything. Either way…

Anyway, I’m surviving. Tonight I think I’m going to the IND vs. Mercy basketball game with my parents. Today I went to lunch at the rotating sushi bar with my mom. I’m keeping myself busy. I told my TD/advisor at school about everything, and he’s been sweetly, awkwardly, quietly supportive. He rocks. So stuff’s okay. Ups and downs.