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.