Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (or winter holiday of choice) everyone! I did, in fact, survive the madness of finals. Las hermanitas y yo even had time to help with Christmas baking, too. The gingerbread chalet is the most photogenic of our efforts: Monita decorated the front, and I decorated the sides. Hermanita forbade both of us from icing the roof, which is not as unfair as one might suppose--Monita and I both have histories of sticky Kitchenaids and similar lapses in fine motor skills whilst in the kitchen.

So I made it through finals, but what about the gifts? Anyone here who has been following the progress of the Tempest Cardigan will not be shocked to discover that it was a humongo (albeit tasteful and nicely-colored) black hole of time. I had to devote all of last weekend to finishing the beast. To circumvent a long rant, we'll just say that I now remember why I became so enamored with one-piece projects in the first place.

That's gift the first, off the needles but in the box sans buttons.

Note: I am fully aware my pincushion is politically incorrect *and* balding. Its inclusion in the picture is a desperate cry for a new pincushion.

Um, ya. That's what I've been knitting Hermanita. Formwise, the warm-up will look like a cross between this and this (the striped one), with sporty lacy side stripes, when it is completed. Which will not be until after New Year's. Mayhaps the Warm-up will want to take it up with the Thundercloud Cardigan.

This is the gift that gave me the idea for the labels. Last Christmas, when las hermanitas y yo were looking at my new knit.1 magazine, Monita said she wanted the Duotone Cardigan. Only problemecito: The smallest size is a 36. Monita wears a 32 at most. I really and truly tried, working a gauge swatch, crunching the numbers, working two dud starts that were like additional gauge swatches, and crunching the numbers again, but I only started on Tuesday (Monita might like to take this up with the Thundercloud as well), and I plain and simple ran out of time.

I think I know who's going to be busy knitting over winter break.

May you all have a very merry holiday, with lots of gifts sans assembly required under your trees!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Colors!

What do you guys think? I went in from the reader's end yesterday, and it knocked me over the head how much I dislike pastels (personal issue--they have their place, por ejemplo en su├ęteres de Hermanita, but not on my blog). So I changed my color scheme. Any thoughts on the new look?

And yes, before you ask, I am totally having finals avoidance issues.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friends in High Places

I came out into the living room with the intention of continuing my punishment--I mean, finals--but Stella came and got into my lap before I had a chance to get my binder or my knitting, so another post it is.

(Yes, I could just move the dog and get my stuff. But she's just so cute and contented up here. And my brain isn't working quite right for homework purposes.)

Final the first has been sent in, final the second is *done* and just needs one more looking over before it can be sent in (that's the article article article paper I was talking about the other day), which means I am down to one last final paper. I'd be thrilled to dickens if the thought of writing another paper didn't give me such a humongo headache.

In knitty news: Hermanita's Patternless Christmas Gift has been frogged and is back on track. I brought my knitting to work with me to do my dirty deed. As it turned out, one of my coworkers was in the break room, too. I've found that non-knitters fall into two camps when you tell them you are about to undo a portion of your knitting: the Oh No! camp and the Can I Help camp. Luckily for me, my coworker fell into the latter camp, and not only that, but she skeined the yarn up between her hands as she ripped (I was holding the work in my lap to make sure we didn't frog too far). Cool, but here's why it's really cool: she's six feet tall. Ergo she has a six foot wingspan. We got that 4" frogged in no time, and rather than the chubby little tangle I would have made, she left me with a long, skinny skein that I just twisted up and popped in my knitting bag. Onward!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 16: Such Great Heights

I liked that song when it was a radio song, but I came to absolutely love it when my Pandora started playing it and I learned the lyrics. The freckles in our eyes are mirror images... *sigh*

That song has nothing to do with Week 16 of this or any semester, except for the title. Once madness starts, it begins to escalate, and reaches such great heights more quickly than any sane person could contemplate in Weeks 1-4.

On one hand, I am trawling through research papers about people looking up health info online and scribbling down hypotheses, samples, and variables like I've got good sense. The madness here is not that I have no interest in medicine and would be an abysmal health librarian. I chose the topic because UA also has a med school, so they have just about every volume of every medical journal available online and I could spend the next 10 years doing this without ever hitting that "article not available" dead end.

The madness is inherent in the repetitive nature of the assignment--hypothesis, sample, variables, outcomes, write it all down and move on to the next article. I'm not trying to diss my professor here--he's here to teach students how to assess the quality of research, and by jiggy, I'm learning how to assess the quality of research. But I'm on article 5 of 10. Hypothesis, sample, variables, outcomes... *giggle*

Other hand: Hermanita's Christmas gift has hit a snag. Did I mention I have no pattern for this gift? I don't. I'm cobbling it together as I go along. When I said madness, I meant madness.

She and I are almost the same size, so I was banking on the accuracy of my schematics and being able to try it on as I work to make sure the pattern is working. Only I didn't have enough to try on until last night, when I discovered that my pattern is not, in fact, working, and I have to rip back 4" of work. Alack, alay, oh woe, oy vey. On the bright side, my schematics are bang on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week 15: There's Madness and then There's Madness, or Why I Knit Christmas Gifts

Luckily, I have not had so abominable a Monday (or any day) since last posting. That's not to say all's roses and kittens in baskets, but definitely less abominable.

As finals and the Christmas season barrel down on me simultaneously, I have had an epiphany about Christmas knitting. There are lots of divergent opinions out there: Laura of Cosmicpluto is doing some gifts this year, Ravelry's advice columnist has editorialized against gift knitting, and then you have me who knits gifts for everyone almost every year.

I've pondered the why my gift-knitting for a while, because it certainly isn't the cheap way to go, nor is it the stress-free option (although there have been several holiday experiences where I walk into the mall and within minutes want to run out screaming or murder someone, depending on which is more feasible, and that doesn't count as stress free either). And for the past...6 Christmases (that many?--ye gods!), I have been in college, which means Christmas knitting and the fall semester have a total or near-total overlap. I plunge into my semesters to the point of burnout. I plunge into my knitting to the point of almost burning out. Does doing both at the same time make any sense at all?

Actually, yes. The only thing out there that can truly distract me from my classes is my knitting, and when class deadlines get closer, so do project deadlines. The two work in perfect tandem.

This year promises to be particularly gripping. On one hand, I have three mongo final papers. On the other hand, I have three large Christmas gifts and 23 days to finish them all.

At top you see the gift closest to being done: Mum's Thundercloud Cardigan. No, that doesn't look like three months' work to me, either, but I'm really happy I didn't run out of yarn. Once I reknit the top of the left front (counting error, augh), seam all the pieces, knit the front bands and hem and sew some buttons on, that one's done.

Hermanita's gift is far enough along to warrant a Ravelry page.

Monita's gift is yarn in a bag.

Let the madness begin.