Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Year

A History of English assignment is looming over my shoulder, but I have to get a post in tonight; this is leap year manifest.

I used to love little trivia-type things like today. I suppose I still do, but as a full-time student part-time deskperson, it's just not the same.

Forgive the melancholy, but I had my ego crushed this morning in a Dental Anthropology lab practical. Augh. I will be the first person to agree that one's ego can always do with a poke, but here's something to keep in mind: one's ego is crammed in quite close to one's spirit. Crush one and the other gets a bit bruised.

So as not to make this post really bleak, here's a picture:

These have been my school knitting. My History of English professor (who abbreviates the class title most disconcertingly. Add "Language" to the title, acronym it, and see what you get) and Archaeology professor have both okayed knitting in class. Quant requires too much looking to do in class, so I've been knitting squares--to borrow a favorite phrase of the professor for Dental--ad nauseum. They chew through the yarn most encouragingly, and depending on the amount of new material in each lecture, I get get one done in a school day and a half. So far I've got six. At this point, completing *anything* gives me a little tweak of accomplishment, but by the same token, I do believe I've gotten to the point where starting a seventh would bring me ad nauseum.

Let's see what I can dig out of the tote.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Movie Knitting

My treat to myself for surviving last week's three tests was watching the Oscars. No homework during commercials, just my stash shawl.

Say what you like about awards being fixed (which they are, or Pirates would've won for Best Special Effects. I mean come on--the effects in The Golden Compass even looked fake in the trailers. I digress...), but you have to admit: those Hollywood types put on a good show.

Here's where I stand with the Patternless Stash Shawl. I like to think that it's less visually assaulting than Mrs. Day-Lewis' dress.

In the picture, it looks diminutive and benign. In actuality, the top is six feet across, and just the weight of it in my lap was enough to keep me warm in my icebox, I mean bedroom, while reading this morning.

Monday, February 18, 2008

When All Else Fails

There is knitting. The yarn may be a funny colored acrylic, and the needles raspy aluminum, but knitting is predictable. It is tractable, it goes at the pace you need it to, and it doesn't wait until Tuesday to tell you what to study for your Thursday test. Not that that last bit's actually happened in one of my harder classes and I'm feeling bitter and hating the teacher for all the time I spent this weekend studying the wrong stuff.

Back to knitting. Around Christmas, I whipped out three of these:

(Modeled here by Hermanita)

Pattern: Tweed Beret from the Winter 2006 Interweave Knits.
Yarn: A skein and a half of Cascade 220 for two solid-color hats and one hat with stripes of Cascade 220 and Lion Brand Mohair blend that I bought so long ago the color went out and came back in again.
Needles: size 6. You could go up to size 7 for a floppier fit. It wasn't until I was on the third one that it occured to me to use a 40" circular and pull out the extra length of cord: by the time you reach the hat's maximum circumference, there's only the shortest bit extra.
Be forewarned: you need 8 stitch markers to keep track of the increase points. There's no fudging this one, especially not if you're using black yarn.

I normally don't knit the same pattern twice, but hats are nice. You cast on, knit to the end, bind off, and you're done. No fiddly seams to sew or mates to match.

A little Quant and I think I can manage to look at school again.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

On a Mission

Poking around in Blogland the other day, I discovered this. Stash reduction, on a grand scale, complete with guidelines.

The discovery clicked with a thought that has been lurking at the back of my brain for some time now:

I have too much stash yarn.

Before the chorus of protests erupts, let's get some definitions straight.

Too much (adj) A quantity that exists in the eye of the beholder. Prime example: Stephanie Pearl-McPhee went stash diving before Christmas and came back with an entire sweater. For a guy. I'm pretty sure she's not keeping her stash in a single tote under the bed. I was at the point where I couldn't get the lid on my tote to close, and moving into larger territory is not an option.

Stash (n) 1 single skeins purchased for no particular project 2 yarn that is left over from a previous project. Blue Garter references stash a lot, and her definition is quite similar. But she always follows it up with a perfectly gorgeous work of knitty art. Most of what I have fits into both 1 & 2, and is often a funny color to boot.

Exhibit A

Note the peach and aqua from Nautie. I've had the that single skein of green since I was 12 (I'm not joking), and that novelty cotton is one of the more normal examples of my strangely hued yarns.

Furthermore, I don't like a lot of my yarn. Some of it's really cool and I've got it separated out from the detritus in a separate bag because I want it to go into something special. For the most part, however, stash yarn brings me down and mars the thrill of new purchases because I know after that project is over, all sorts of oddments will end the stash.

See anything familar?

Here is what I plan to do: Knit the stash away. Starting now. My rules are pretty much the same as Wendy's. No new yarn until September (or until I can get the lid closed on my yarn tote and don't feel bogged down by everything inside).

If I absolutely have to, I will allow myself to buy yarn that will be used (every last yard of it) to finish up other stash yarn.

Here is my inaugural project:

Lion Brand Homespun, 100% synthetic and clogging up my stash, reminding me of the hideous apparition that was my first sweater. It looks particularly garish here under the flash, oozing out of my beach/knitting bag, but in real life, the colors aren't so bad. Or maybe I've just grown tolerant of them because I've been looking at them for the past 8 years. Becaue there's no pattern (just k1 yo work to center yo k1 yo work to 1 st from end yo k1 purl 1 rw), and because I'm working on size 13 needles, I really feel like I'm getting somewhere already.

An auspicious start? I hope so.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Recent Obsessions

Of the musical variety include:

Mr. Pitiful Monita y yo asistí a un concierto por Matt Costa, opened up by the Delta Spirit, and it was awesome. The only song I knew before the show was Cold December (iTunes free download many many weeks back), which usually reduces one's enjoyment of the music at hand. Not this time. I really loved some of the other songs, but Mr. Pitiful has such cute, catchy piano--and Matt Costa's got it streaming on his site.

Well Thought Out Twinkles Another single. Lined up together, these two make me look like a singles-monger. I don't love it because it's a single--I love it because it's an awesome song.

Canyon Girl Not a single, but lyrically clever. My iPod takes quite a lot of liberties shuffling, but does a good job of bringing up this song con frequencia.

Knitting obsessions? Quant's teeny tiny squares have taken a cut in popularity after I dredged up some gift/stash knitting. Worked in stockinette. Without shaping. With two strands of yarn held together. In my defense, my confidence had taken a severe battering over the week.

Sadly, this is a pictureless post, but I can't justify running around with a camera until I've slogged through Chavin and the Origins of Andean Civilization, a book which would be interesting if I wasn't supposed to be done with it yesterday.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Would You Believe?

I don't have a scarf. Well--there's a lime green muffler that was mine about 7 or 8 years ago. It matched with my teal polarfleece jacket. But it's store bought (a quality I developed an aversion to right around when I became a fiber snob), about 3 feet wide (I'm exaggerating, but only a little), and a color of such short fashionability that it could be used to absolutely date an archaeological deposit.

There's also a scarf in the closet that belongs to whoever needs it. It's handknit, but handknit in teal heather when I still got all my patterns out of Kids Knitting.

How sad is that? I have enough hats to last an Antartic winter, but no proper scarf. Scarf season is winding to a close here in the Land of Eternal Summer, but winter will come around again next year.

I hope.

Assuming that, I need a scarf. I have the yarn picked out: a nice fuzzy gray worsted that a dear friend brought me back from Quito. There's no fiber content info on the label, but I suppose I could try Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's burn test (in this book) if I really wanted to know what it was.

The pattern is less certain. I really adore the cowl pattern in Knit Two Together, but the fuzzy presence of the Lime and Teal scarves in the hall closet makes me think I should do someting basic and classic. Something that won't be keeping the other scarves company in the closet in a few seasons.

Ribbing is unbelievably classic. Fall-asleep-while-you-knit classic. Cables are also nice, but I have reservations about knitting cables. They're fiddly. Knitty, usually an excellent source of inspiration, has proved to be too specific in the scarf department.

I know--I already have Quant going, plus a gift knit, and adding a scarf to the needles would push me back to where I was here. There is also that minor detail called school. But there is something about waiting for the bus in the early morning chill that makes me dream scarves...

Friday, February 1, 2008

All Right, I Admit It!

I'm on my lunch break, and I'm not using the time for my montana of homework. Yesterday was one of those days that you think you can salvage, but you can't. The final straw was when I went to do some relaxing bedtime knitting and discovered I'd lost the pattern 10+ rows down.

So I'm trying to make today go a little better, inasmuch as an entire day spent telling people things they don't want to hear can be "good."

Here is my Quant.

The flash really picked up the colors (they are somewhat less blinding in person). Kiddish, yes, but whoever ends up wearing it never need fear getting run over crossing the street or sledding.

In the picture, the checks look miniature. This yarn is roughly sock weight, and I'm using #2 needles (The stabby metal kind. Can you say Dial M for Murder?), but it's not horrible. I taught myself to purl backwards with this handy-dandy Knitty tutorial. When I finished that row of squares, I went back and used the same thing to teach myself to knit backwards. It wasn't hard, and it saves on needle-drops and excess movement on the bus (men have quite a knack for sitting in such a way that they take up twice as much space as they really need to). And although I doubt anybody sitting across from me has the faintest idea which direction knitters usually work in, being able to work backwards makes me feel clever.

And now, my short hour is up.