Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Betwixt and Between

Happy Holidays to all--Christmas blew past me, but we've still got New Year's to help us get down off the holiday buzz. Thanks to everyone in blogland for sharing their celebrations!

Here's a quick Christmas recap:
I made
~Monkey (a pair of Monkeys?) for Hermanita
~Hedera for Mum
~Gretel for Monita (as chronicled last post)

Plus a lace sachet for Mum of my own design, filled with a mixture of rosebuds and rosemary.

All items were received with enthusiasm, and better yet, everything fit the intended recipients!

Now, I'm trying to balance the urgency of catching up on all the things I should have been doing during the semester (suffice to say the list's a mile long) with the relaxation that ought to go along with a holiday. So far, so good: Sunday was a graduation dinner with a friend, yesterday was a woollens-washing marathon (much to Stella's delight).

I have so much planned for the new year--finishing up my UFOs, starting new projects, and taking stock of my stashbusting. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Reason Prevails--Eventually

This year, Monita's gift was the troublesome one. First, I had a heck of a time figuring out what to give her. Finally, I settled on a hat, and because I developed an obsession with Ysolda Teague's designs over the course of this semester, I settled on her Gretel hat. So, no biggy, I stopped at my LYS after one hectic school day, perused the shelves for something in the appropriate weight and color (yes, this was a non-stash project), and I was off.

All the classic symptoms developed early. I read the project gague, and instead of noting how softly draping the modeled versions were and taking the time to discover that the yarns Ysolda used generally knit at tighter gagues, I just grabbed the yarn that matched the pattern gague (i.e., thicker than the prototypes). Then, my beleaguered brain thought "slouchy is in" and began to knit the slouchy. Even as I felt like the cabling might go on forever, even after trying it on and seeing what looked like the beginnings of a Rasta-style hat (not the look Monita is going for, last I checked), I kept going.

It wasn't until Friday, after graduation, that I tried the hat on and saw it as the bright red blimp it had shaped into. Note this is after I had used up the first skein of yarn and had taken out half an hour to wind a second skein and begin knitting with that. It dawned on me then that there was only one way: the frog pond.

This is what it looked like halfway ripped (note that the skein trailing off is all frogged yarn)

This is what it looked like ripped back to where you begin the crown decreases for the fitted version, the place I was at after two or three days of knitting.

Saturday was a knitting marathon, and after dinner, I was finished with a multi-week project that should've taken me about three days. Aaaaalll good.

Pattern--Gretel. Clever, clever design.
Yarn--Malabrigo Worsted in Vermillion, under one skein
Needles--Size 7 Addi Turbos and miscellaneous size 7 dpns
Modifications--None. If you haven't already learned to do cables without a needle, do as Ysolda suggests and use Grumerina's tutorial. It is very clear, and once you've done a couple twists, it becomes intuitive. I am not an innovative knitter or one who prides herself on knowing tricks, but this is one trick I am all over.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pomp and Circumstance

Yesterday, I graduated (yes, I am still alive). It was quite the Event, with everyone bundling out of bed and into their winter best to be at the arena by 7. We left early to beat the horrible traffic and the backup at the road leading into the parking structure, neither of which materialized.

There was, however, the staging, which one of my fellow graduates described as "reverse hazing." I think all of us expected to be herded into the nether regions of the arena to wait the hour between when we had to arrive and when we marched in. Oh no. We were shooed back outside to the arboretum across the street to wait, for an hour, in the pre-dawn cold. Ok--so this isn't like Chicago or Toronto, but still. All but one of the Anthro graduates were girls, and not a one of us was dressed to be standing outside in 40º cold without coats. Adding insult to injury, we had to spend the entire hour staring at the Political Science graduates waiting in front of us, most of whom were guys who were heartlessly warm and relaxed in their solid shoes and suits with warm pockets.

I survived, thanks in large part to having worn Hermanita's Firebird under my gown, and finally, shiveringly, we were paraded into the auditorium. The customary pomp and circumstance, set to Pomp and Circumstance, followed, and then, finally, they began to read the names.

After ages of waiting, walking was over in a flash. I got up to the stage without mishap, I stepped forward at the right time, I took the diploma case with the correct hand, and I was not the girl who wiped out going down the stairs (I felt so sorry for her, but it made the day of the guy placed at the bottom for just such an accident).

And then it was all over. I'd said goodbye and good luck to all the students I knew while we froze to death in the arboretum, to the advisor at the Anthro department's reception, and to one of my favorite professors (not at the Anthro reception, ironically, but in line at the café we went to for lunch afterwards). Still, it didn't sink in until I was going to bed that I would never again wait for a class to start in the dim Anthro lobby, never wedge myself into a too-small wooden desk and read the graffiti on the back of the desk in front of me while the person behind bumped my back with his/her knees, never curse the name of some past culture and/or that of the professor teaching us about them. It was all rawther saddening.

Shortly thereafter, it occurred to me to wonder what the heck I was going to do all spring.

I think I might be able to come up with something.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Week 14: Alpaca Fumes

As an avid reader of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, I am well versed in the hazards wool fumes pose to knitters (heaven knows I've even gone a little crazy in a yarn shop myself once or twice)

I was unprepared, however, to learn that alpaca can have the same effect on dogs.

When I washed my alpaca skirt, Stella was obsessed. She couldn't stop smelling it when it was outside, and when it came in, she even hopped up on my bed to get a whiff.

Mum was not pleased, particularly not when Stella wanted to inspect the next load of (non-wool) laundry in hopes of finding the skirt.

When I had made the skirt, I lengthened the waistband to help it stay up, only to discover that a strand of beading elastic did a better job. This was finally my impetus to snip the extra piece off (no worries, it was knitted separately) and unravel it.

I was intrigued by the sproingyness of unraveled alpaca.

Stella was (and is) intrigued by the finished product.

Ollie the Octopus catnip toy (Ridiculous name; Stella's is called Hubert) from The Knitter's Book of Yarn
Less than 1/2 skein Blue Sky Alpaca Sportweight (color unknown), held double
Size 6 dpns
An excellent pattern--my only modification was to make the legs shorter than called for, so there was no danger of Stella choking if she attempted to eat one.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Week 12: Happiness is a Warm Puppy

Sin dudo.

This is Stella, and although happiness is undoubtedly a warm puppy, the little angel has caused a minor derailment of basically everything.

Case in point: those Christmas socks? On hold for an entire weekend because the poor baby needed something to keep her warm outside.

Warm Puppy (or dog) Cape:
Just over 1 skein Lamb's Pride Bulky in Onyx (out of stash--woohoo!)
Size 10 1/2 needles
No pattern
Two vintage buttons out of button tin

I started with a cape because I couldn't imagine getting a dog into a turtleneck, but Stella's such a good girl she'll let us slip the cape over her head with the front tab buttoned. I see a world of knitty possibilities opening up--I just need to resist temptation long enough to finish my classes. And those socks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Week 11: First

We have a new President. This was the first national election I was able to participate in, and at the end, we have the first African-American President of the United States. How cool is that?

I heard so many complaints about our voting process--"I have to wait how long?" "Why can't I drop my ballot off here?" "What do you mean they're closed?" But c'mon, people. Voting is the crux of democracy. We can make stuff happen by filling out a piece of paper. As one of my coworkers so astutely noted: "And we don't have to worry about anyone shooting at us."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Week 10: Socktoberfest Spoils

No, it's not a whole sock. Yes, it is 1 of 2.

But it's rawther trellisy, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Mayas or Hohokam, which I appreciate.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Week 8: Like Frogged Bamboo

A glorious cold snap and the arrival of Socktoberfest inspired me to finally act upon my simmering sock obsession. These two skeins topped my list:

Rio de la Plata Sock Solid in Seaweed

and Panda Wool in Strawberry Pink.

The Panda Wool got precedence because it's destined for giftiness, and I began a pair of Hedera.

Then midterms came along, and my gauge tightened like a hungry boa constrictor. Behold the result:

That's kind of how my brain feels now, after three midterms in two days. I am not overly hopeful about the results, but I don't know that I care. Major case of senior bad attitude, I know, but the sock is back on track now, and that's enough to make me happy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Week Six: Slipping

While Mayas and King Henry (the fourth, part 1) and article reactions pile up around me, I'm feeling rawther like I'm slipping a bit.

Por ejemplo: It didn't occur to me until after I'd picked up all the stitches for the sleeve of my FBS that I would have to knit it in the round. I suppose I won't mind the seamlessness, but I'm having some gauge issues.

My big accomplishment for the week: data sheets for my very first true research project. This one won't be me putzing around on JSTOR and giving a presentation on half a dozen articles written before I was born: this will be me, collecting data on real nonliving potsherds and hopefully not making a complete fool of myself when I present my findings to my classmates.

Grand excitement.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Week 5: Beetle-Headed Villains

Why is it so terribly difficult for people to create PDF files with pages all oriented the same direction? I hit print hoping to shortcut the painful slogging through of articles I have to complete this weekend and came out with two properly printed pages and 13 page middles.


On the bright side, my Shakespeare class is teaching me lots of useful vocabulary.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Week Four: the Amoeba Evolves

Four down, twelve to go. My trusty knitting bag has not failed me yet, and the Mystery Christmas project is moving along.

My February Baby Sweater had been languishing in the basket for lack of time spent at home, but a moment of extreme duress brought on by the realization that I have a substantial paper to finish by Friday (tomorrow) brough it back out.

It has gone from amoeba on a stick to blob on a stick, but if you split up the sections, voilà--

It's a miniature sweater (sans sleeves). Although part of the calming power of this sweater is that there's no deadline and no recipient to impress, I'd love to see what it looks like on an actual baby.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I suppose my last entry would've been a good time to mention that school started and I won't be able to blog as often as I'd (or you'd) like until mid-December.

And I don't have any pictures of my current project, because it is a top-secret Christmas gift for Hermanita, who actually reads here.

But I have been knitting! My kit bag has become my everything-but-the-kitchen sink bag, holding my knitting, my writing implements, and my purse notions. After forgetting my locker key so many times my boss suspiciously asked if I'd lost it, I threw everything in the bag and don't leave the house without it.

With my knitting always handy (and my pattern memorized), I can pull out my knitting any time and pretend that I haven't a care in the world. I can pretend that I am getting Important Things done (nevermind that mongo Pottery Analysis book sitting at home), and I can pretend that I've gotten so far on this, it's a matter of a week or so before I start a new project, like this skirt in the new Knitty, which had to go live just as the semester blossomed into a many-headed hydra. I can pretend that the weather is veering dangerously towards cold (today's high: a nippy 96), and turning all this woolyness into warm goods is a matter of dire importance.

One thing I will not do is pretend that blogging is something I Positively Must get done. Does that sound counterintuitive? According to normal logic, yes. According to my logic? Not at all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Amoeba on a Stick!

Not really. It's a February Baby Sweater, my first foray into the designs of Elizabeth Zimmerman. I'm hoping to create something unique but classic, along the lines of this or this rendition.

Once again, we have the White Stripes-esque color scheme of my Baby Ull stash. Maybe something little Scarlett White would wear. And, once again, I don't have a baby handy, which is why I'm going for classic. Even if they will cover every article of clothing (theirs and their mothers') with unspeakable liquids, babies do deserve to be dressed in style.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Positively Mahvelous, Dahling

Project Specs--

Pattern: Gigi, from the Summer '08 Knitty
Yarn: Crystal Palace Panda Wool in color 4108 (Vine Green), not quite 5 skeins
Needles: Size 2 and 4, as called for in the pattern
Modifications: none intentionally. If you'll notice, there are five buttons on mine. If you have proper row gauge on the ribbing, you'll be able to fit six.
Note: The sizes are weird. I wear a 34" sweater and knitted the extra small on this. Measure the top of your hips (above the bone, not quite to your waist) to figure out which size to make.

I love this sweater. It is the sort of thing I would never plan to make myself (or anybody else for that matter). Had I not been in a yarn buying mood when I saw it, or had I stopped to consider it for any length of time, it wouldn't have gotten made. Gigi is a total product sweater: I simply adore how the yarn feels and the shape, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it once school starts (Monday).

Like an old-time movie queen, however, there is more to this little sweater than meets the eye. Putting it nicely, I'd call it a skill-builder. In a less complimentary mood, I'd call it a total pain. In the course of knitting and finishing, you
1. Shape sides
2. Shape neck, at same time as sides
3. Make fancy two-row buttonholes
4. Cast on big clumps of stitches (do not use backwards loop method!)
5. Shape shoulders with short rows
6. Make casings
7. Sew side seams that in all likelihood will come out wonky under the arms because of the excessive amount of increases down there (thanks to the drape of the sleeves, nobody will notice unless you walk around with your arms stretched out to the sides)
8. Sew more seams
9. Make a twisted cord
10. Sew on 5 buttons (or 6, if you got row gauge)
11. Knit neck edging
12. Sew neck edging to back edge
13. Graft back neck edging stitches to front edging stitches held aside for the purpose

An extra step that you may feel compelled to add is throwing the heap of unfinished sweater on your bed because you cannot stand fiddly finishing procedures, sewing in particular.

But then you put it on and feel positively mahvelous, like you should be posed in a house on Sunset Boulevard, wearing outrageously high heels and holding a martini in one red-taloned hand, which sort of makes up for spending two whole days sewing.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Whew. Olympic viewing has resulted in sleep deprivation of Olympic proportions. But for knitting time, it can't be beat.

Gigi is finished, not just the knitting but the neverending finishing too. More on that after I corner my photographer.

My next focus is Christmas knitting (it feels too early, but I'm trying to avoid daylong knitting sessions come Dec.), but I can't very well do any of that while mi familia looks on, so I dug back into the stash.

A scarf, just long enough to be worn cravat-style about one's neck. I used the ripple pattern (#116 in the Vogue Stitchionary--beware, the second set of k2tog's are supposed to be ssk's), some black fuzzy acrylic bought many and many a year ago, and (you guessed it) some more of the neverending Homespun. I cast on enough stitches for one pattern repeat and knit until the black ran out. Did I use up all the Homespun?

Of course not.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day and a Half

This has been one of those days in which you just go go go... and it never gets any later. After getting out at the crack of dawn to trim back the poor sad tree in our backyard that got blown over in Thursday's storm so we can actually lift the thing back up,

Las hermanitas y yo baked cupcakes,

and I was inspired to back up all my files, and after a major clearing out, I got them all of two discs (!!!).

And let's not forget watching the Olympics! It would be so easy to get disgusted with the commercialization, the politicalization, etc., etc and say forget it. The Olympics are definitely not purely about sportsmanship. But seriously. How could they be? Two hundred-some national identities and egos colliding head-on in the competitive and money soaked field of sports, presented by one culture, interpreted by another--! My inner anthropologist thrills to the cultural messages flying fast and furious, my inner knitter thrills to the amount of possible knitting time, and seriously, who doesn't thrill to the prospect of watching Michael Phelps cut through the water all weekend?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Missing: Two Weeks

My goodness--has it really been two weeks since I've blogged--or indeed, made any real presence on the blogosphere? I'm going to fall back on a classic and say there are quite simply not enough hours in the day. This isn't the fault of school or work (for once). I'm trying to keep this summer as summer-like as possible, and that means forcing myself not to cram in that one more project, one more book, one more post. There will be plenty of time for running around like a chicken with my head cut off once fall semester starts.

We all know I haven't found time for blogging, but I have found time to knit. The back of Gigi is complete, as is the front left, and the back is well underway.

I would've dearly loved to knit a sweater in the round (I have my eye on a steeked cardigan a la EZ), but doing a sweater in pieces does give one interesting perspectives, not to mention the opportunity to try out a different suite of techniques.

The back piece was an exercise in symmetry. Once I got past the sleeve set up (fraught with stitch counts), it was 9 inches of seriously meditative knitting.

At the top, I got to practice my short-row shaping skills (or lack thereof). I've got the wrapping action down, but when I go to knit the wraps with their stitches, one side comes out with these big loops on the wrong side. Yes, I'm the only person who will ever see them. No, it shouldn't matter. But they irk me all the same.

The front (which I don't have pictures of) was neither meditative nor symmetrical. One one side, I had the familiarity of that wide sleeve, but the other was uncharted territory. The neckline edging didn't make any sense until I had a few rows done, and in the meantime I had to keep the decrease/increase rates right.

Now for the right front, with its buttonholes and a third shot at practicing my short rows. Wish me luck!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Highly Unlikely

Which of the following is the most unlikely?

1. Worldwide peace starting tomorrow

2. My university will complete all of its construction projects

3. I will drop my nascent sock obsession like a lead balloon to begin a sweater

Had you asked me that last Monday, I would've been hard pressed to tell you which answer was the least likely. As I've discovered in the intervening week, the answer is definitely not 3.

Gigi, the flowy, trendy little sweater off the latest Knitty has become my newest obsession, and I've tossed aside all thoughts of socks. Maybe the fact that the pattern is knit in sock yarn can help explain the rapid transition. Whatever the cause, I'm speeding through the back.

I really like the color--Vine Green. As discussed by Sarah of Blue Garter, some sock yarns come in the most distressing color combos. Several shades of Panda Wool fall into the distressing category (I share EZ's distaste for pastels), but luckily, they also have some colors for those of us who want a sweater knit in sock-weight yarn and also insist that 90% of our wardrobe be able to blend into a forest (I am getting past that phase a little bit, but not totally).

The texture of the yarn is also very nice: soft and bamboo-y with just enough wool to keep it from looking like a loofa, as shown in the picture below.

So was this excellent yarn just hiding about the house? Ah. No. I bought it, all seven skeins. This wasn't just a it-came-over-me-of-a-sudden purchase, either. I special-ordered it.

This flies in the face of all rules of destashing. Blatantly. But so far, I have no reason for remorse. I was way burnt out on knitting with tidbits. I wanted a Gigi. And in spite of the fact that it's knit at 25 sts over 4 inches, sleeves worked in with the body, I'm enjoying myself immensely.

What more can I say?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Zen of the Scantron

This morning I had a novel test-taking experience. For one thing, all the stuff I studied for was on the exam. No we-downplayed-this-in-class-because-we-planned-on-devoting-an-entire-test-section-to-it questions. All the answers were on the paper, to be matched, chosen, or true-falsed. The answers did not have to be hand-written; we bubbled our answers in on a scantron.

I think the scantron was what really made the test. I haven't had one for ages--always those too-involved questions followed by too-small blanks--so there was the novelty factor. But even more, there was something reassuring about the tangibility of the little darkened oval. The answer is here, and it fits inside this one little bubble. A, B, C, D, or E, not some abstruse concept with a dozen possible interpretations. No shades of gray, unless you brought the wrong hardness of pencil.

Following in the vein of the unexpected is my mystery picture from last week's non-post.

Inside that box are all the umpteen squares I have been knitting for what seems like eons (roughly three years). I had a square-knitting frenzy right before Mum's birthday, and am now four squares short of a lap blanket (interpret that statement as you will). In short, I am ready to begin the finishing process. Normally, I avoid that part of a project like the plague, but after knitting away so long on a seemingly endless portion of my stash, I am quite thrilled. I did a program last summer where participants knitted (hypothetically) 6-inch squares out of horrible scratchy machine washable Red Heart and its ilk for a twin-bed sized blanket, and after sewing that behemoth together, this will be a piece of cake.

My modus operandi:
Mattress-stitch squares together using embroidery floss (the yarn is too softly spun to sew with)
Knit remaining squares as needed
Put some sort of border on (I was thinking i-cord in black because muted goldish-green is possibly the world's most difficult color to match)
Present it to Mum and keep a good distance from patchwork for a few years

I'd say that sounds like a good plan, wouldn't you?

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Think Uncharitable Thoughts

I am blogging now, fifteen minutes before I'm supposed to get myself together for class, as an alternative to throwing myself on the floor and tearing off my epidermis.

Exegesis: I am very allergic to perfume. Nasty allergic. Last semester, someone used a Guess perfume sample--one of those little cards the women at the perfume counters at department stores spray with the latest scent (after dousing you with said scent) and insist you take along--as a bookmark in a library book about archaeology. I don't know how long it was there, but by the time I got to the book, every page in the two inch thick tome reeked, and I sustained an attack getting my class readings done. Until I discovered the offending sample card, I would've sworn that someone had soaked the whole thing in some sort of laundry detergent.

Well, apparently the culprit is a serial perfumer. I bought my textbook for this class used, and what do you know--I open the thing, and a distinctive laundry detergent scent wafts up in my face. Martha offers a remedy for odiferous books, but it takes a month--not to mention two lidded garbage cans and kitty litter--to take effect. My class will be over and done with in another three weeks, so my better option is to suck it up. Mark my words, though, if I catch the culprit, retribution will be exacted.

In knitty news, I'm making this with this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Two Mittens

A week to the day after I completed my mittens, I've finally got my blog back on.

Here are the stats:
Pattern: Norwegian Snail Mittens out of Book of Yarn, designed by Adrian Bizilia
Yarn: Dalegarn's Baby Ull, just under one skein each 3718 (maraschino) and 0007 (grey), plus a small amount of 0090 (black). The latter two came out of my stash.
Needles: I ended up using the called-for 0's for the grey section in the second mitten, but did all the rest on 1's. Definitely use five, even if you normally use four--it helps keep track of the pattern.
Modifications: I moved the thumb up from row 26 to row 35, as noted previously, and in spite of my many anxieties, it worked perfectly.

In short, I am glad I decided to go with a German chocolate cake knit rather than a candy bar knit. I crossed the Fair Isle frontier with project and sanity intact. The only real fault I could find with the finished product is that the left mitten is slightly larger than the right. That's sort of a non-mistake, though, because, as a lefty, my left hand is actually more robust than my right anyways.

Having tried all these new techniques--tuck stitch, Fair Isle (done properly), afterthought thumbs, and duplicate stitching--I feel like I've broadened my horizons, but I'm pretty sure that none of these techniques will enter my regular repertoire. My norm is a little closer to the "simple knits" end of the spectrum: solid colors, basic patterns, clean lines. German chocolate cake is good for special occasions, but candy bars are definitely better for everyday.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ultimate Recycling

Newest in our line of Miss Marple chic accessories is...

The Sampler Bag

Displayed here on a filing cabinet, this entirely unstructured bag is recycled from a pillowcase knitted from Lion Kitchen Cotton (circa 2000)

as an experiment in the newly-learned techniques of cabling and entrelac.

Cable mis-crossings add to the wonky charm of this never-to-be-duplicated piece,

as does the irregular whipstitching that holds the lining--recycled from a t-shirt--in place.

Please do not place orders, as the knitter has since learned from (most of ) the errors in her experiment, and has additionally vowed not to go near a sewing needle for a very, very long time to come.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Switching Gears

Knittyness is on hold momentarily while I switch from summer to summer school. Bear with me here...

For all shall be revealed in due time.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's the Heat

The other night, just as it was beginning to get dusky, Monita came in from taking out the garbage and remarked that it was pretty nice out. Our thermometer, parked deep in the shade of the back patio, read 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

That might explain why I chose now to do that scarf I wanted in February.

Yarn: Mysterious, gray, from Quito. Light worsted, two ply, fiber content unknown (suspected synthetic)
Needles: Size 7
Pattern: Large Eyelet Diamond (#110) from the Vogue Stitchionary, slightly modified

Paired with a black tank, the diamonds take on an edgy, snakeskin vibe. I was going for classic, and am hoping the snakiness goes away when the scarf is paired with a nice, conservative pea coat. We'll have to wait to find out, though; I'm not so far gone that I'm actually going to put on a lined wool coat and a scarf just to see how they look together.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Knitting has taken a turn for the dull here (not for long) so in the meantime, here's a short list of my favorite summer diversions so far:

Lean (Read)
To Kill a Mockingbird topped my list of Books That I Ought to Read list, partially because it won a Pulitzer and partly because I'd seen the movie and couldn't stand the thought that I know half of classic literature via Hollywood. It blew me away. I picked up The Scarlet Pimpernel because I had a vague idea that it involved swashbuckling. As it turned out, it had suspense! intrepid ladies! daring exploits! chapters titled with exclamation points! and, better yet, I didn't have to look up every other word.

Miren (Watch)
In my convalescence, I discovered that watching movies with the sound off and the subtitles on is like the next level of experience of your old favorites. In Corpse Bride, I had never noticed how perfectly the animators were able to capture Johnny Depp in Victor. Minute things, like a turn of his mouth or the angle of his slouch. At one point, it kinda started weirding me out. Spirited Away has always intrigued me because I feel as if I'm watching the tip of an iceberg, and when I turned the subtitles on, I discovered that this feeling was not entirely unwarranted. The subtitle translation is not the same as the script translation. At certain points the difference is very subtle, but in others, there is a complete divergence (and now I get those parts).

Escuchen (Listen)
Everybody do the happy dance, I can listen to my iTunes again. Among the newest additions to my CD collection is The Age of the Understatement, the Last Shadow Puppets' new album. You might recognize one of them as Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys. All his clever lyrics are here, tidied up and made subtle to fit the Sixties spy vibe of the album. To my surprise and delight, the album is brilliant to knit to, but with this as your soundtrack, you could just as easily put on your giant sunglasses, turn up the collar to your jacket, and slink around corners.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Knock Me Over With a Feather

Some of you may be wondering whatever happened to the Icarus I kicked up such a ruckus over. It never did get immolated, or reknitted. In the end--my grandmother's birthday being around the corner--I decided to make the best of a bad situation and block the beast.

Thinking of albatrosses as a very fitting metaphor, I washed it, firmly.

I dumped it on the bed and took a dead jellyfish picture.

I blocked it, very firmly.

Taking a panoramic shot, I decided that what I was seeing was achieved only by the fact it was mounted tighter than a kite on five blocking wires and two sets of pins, and that the top edge would immediately collapse back into its Eurofighter outline the instant it was released.

I was wrong.

Guess it's a good thing I decided not to frog it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dos Caracoles

(Two Snails)

I have hit my stride with the Norwegian Snail Mittens, and I'm totally obsessed.

I never would've thought I could get this into a pattern involving Fair Isle--the epitome of fiddly knits. But there's something addictive about doing just one more row to see the pattern progress. Then another, and another...

I've even worked out a little system for myself to mitigate tangles:

On the back (snail) chart, I twist over at each color change

& on the palm, I twist under at each color change.

This balances just about every twist with an un-twist. Although you can't see it in the picture, twisting the yarns in the same direction every time on the palm creates an adorable candy-cane stripe that just thrills me to death.

(the palm also looks pretty good on the outside, too)

See that little off-white bow at the top of the inside palm picture? That marks where the thumb will go, and the first pattern hiccup. It had occurred to me the other day to match the mitten schematic up against my own hand's dimensions. I was doing this to check the width of the cuff (as if I would rip that out anyways), but in the process, realized that knitting the thumb in where the pattern directed would leave enough space at the fingertips for not only the traditional pennies, but probably the rest of the contents of my wallet, too.

I agonized over making the change for quite a while--doing it wrong would mean ripping back a lot of mitten--but in the end, my phobia of too-long mittens, like too-long socks, won out, and I moved the thumb up an inch.

Note on colors: they're not that retina-searing in real life. I forgot about picture taking until the sun had started setting, leaving my room dark as a tomb and Hermanita's (where I was photographing) blindingly bright. I'll work on that one...