Saturday, August 29, 2009

Week One: Pulling the Plug

First week of grad school proper over, and I'm still here with what sanity I had to begin with. Such as it is.

Whoo hoo!

I like it, although this whole online classroom thing really weirds me out. Yes, I know, it's sort of like blogging. But still.

One thing I've learned is that there comes a time where I have to pull the plug. When I had in person classes, they stuffed the students into the classroom when it was time for class to start, and then shoved them out when class was over with a paper saying do this before it's time to stuff you back in the classroom again. Do your homework and you can do what you'd like until the next class. After 5 years, that's what I was used to. Now, the classroom is there 24/7, and so is the work. Do a little of this, a little of that, and then I realize I've played through two and a half albums in my iTunes and my eyes are starting to cross. It took me a few days, but I think I've gotten to where I can catch myself and pull the plug before hitting that point.

So when I step back, I pull out my newest project: the Tundercloud Cardigan. The pattern is Tempest, from Knitty, and so called because of the color of the yarn--blue with gray but a little purply too, like the color the sky would turn before a storm in Illinois. As an aside, the sky don't turn that many colors here. There were blues, grays, and purples, and I distinctly remember several instances where the sky went green in Illinois, but I have never seem a green sky here. Maybe it has something to do with there being moisture in the air... Like with many great colors of yarn, I wasn't able to get the color to show up properly in the photo above, but I'll keep trying.

This sweater is for Mum, and you know what that means: Christmas knitting has begun! Having a gift on the needles is perhaps the only thing that will reliably get me to step back from school when I need to. Will I get it all done in time? That's the sport.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Temporary Madness

Fall semester has started, and with a full load of classes, I feel like I'm officially a grad student. Ahhhhh! I went on a finishing-up and cleaning-up spree this past weekend. The cleaning went well, the projects not so much. The scarf above (crummy picture--I was home alone with my camera) is the only finished object I'm really happy with, so let's focus on that.

I'm calling it my movie scarf because I knit it almost exclusively while watching movies. They were all good movies--maybe that's why the scarf had such good karma. I started it while watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (ooh!). Then there was Everything is Illuminated (which I've already praised), Food Inc. (tip: don't get popcorn), and the original Sabrina (Bogart and Holden as good guys).

The pattern is Purl Bee's Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf, and it really was easy. I used a worsted weight yarn--Berrocco's Ultra Alpaca, which is wonderful to work with and very soft--so I had to adjust the number of sts cast on, but for once the adjustment went well.

This scarf isn't for me, which makes me a little sad since I got attached to it after toting it around to all those movies. It's going to a good place, though: the Red Scarf Project, an amazing charity that sends care packages to orphaned or fostered children who have entered college. They start accepting submissions September first, which gives me just enough time to wash the scarf (I wouldn't send it off dirty!), write up a care label, and pop it in the mail.

More FO's to come once I've gotten up the jam to write about a big mistake.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

So Much for Soon

I've taken my time getting this project finished, and then there was the usual trouble catching one of las hermanitas in a picture taking mood while the light was still decent. But! I have finished my Latvian socks, and I rawther adore them.

Pattern: Latvian Socks, by the venerable Nancy Bush.
Yarn: Rio de la Plata sock yarn, *just* under one skein in Seaweed
Needles: Size 0, which are not so hard to work with once you get the hang of them.
Latvian Socks on Ravelry

I really enjoyed knitting these socks. They took me forever because of the way I worked on it--pick it up, put it down, pick it up, rip out a mistake, put it down--but the pattern is not difficult to read or knit. Bush is brilliant, and all of her patterns are awesome, so the only modification I made was to work on 5 needles instead of 4--this gave me one pattern repeat per needle.

These were a perfect travel project: I carried them around everywhere in my purse or backpack, and all the needles survived the ride. However, I did manage to go through all but one of a replacement package of needles either snapping them in my hands (I have a very firm grip, Petunia!) or by leaning over on a seat and snapping them under my elbow. Oops.

It's hard for me to work up a lot of hyperactivity about finishing these socks because I've been carrying them around, showing off Sock the First to curious onlookers since February. To everyone who asked me, "So how long will it take you to finish them?", here's the answer: Eons when I potter along, finishing other projects in between, less than 3 weeks a sock when I sit my derrière down and just *knit*. But they are really awesome socks, worth all the time I spent on them.

Here's the final mark of a good project: after I finished these socks, I was so sad not to have a pair of socks riding along in my purse with me, I cast on for another pair. A drawer full of handknitted socks? It's a good thing.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Divigation While I Finish My Final Project

Not a whole lot of knitting is going on here. Most of my creative energy (not to mention time) is going towards the final project for my Preservation class:


Never you fear--the socks I have been working on forever are in the home stretch, and a post just for them will come soon. In the meantime, how about a little media roundup?

I have become mildly obsessed with The Postal Service's album--Give Up of late, particularly Sleeping In.

Ever since getting back from Tucson, I have also become an avid movie viewer (avoidance issues? not at all). My favorite so far is one of Monita's picks, Everything is Illuminated. I don't like Elijah Wood (So as not to offend Lord of the Rings fans, I will not go into my feelings about his performance as Frodo), but this was an absolutely incredible, funny film. I will not muddle the story with a synopsis--just watch it.

Back with knitting-related content soon!