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Archive for October, 2007

Happy Halloween!

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There were carved green peppers instead of pumpkins at the party last weekend.

Later this week (if I can put my head on straight for 30 seconds), I’ll have pictures of the new sock I started. Unless it kills me first.

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I have been terrified of failing.

This is a topic I’ve been trying to write about for 3 months, but can’t. I’ve been sitting here trying to write about it and have gotten a stomach ache, and have constantly stopped typing, and have erased what I’ve written four times in 20 minutes.

I have been terrified of doing new things, because what if I do it wrong?

Maybe it’s because I have some perfectionist qualities (obviously not when it comes to cleaning my house, but you know, in other ways) that I’ve been scared of doing whatever it is wrong. I’ve done so many things in my life the ‘right’ way and have been fairly successful, that I don’t want to break my streak? or I don’t want to be inconsistent? I don’t know why.

I’ve been totally afraid of failure.

(Every time I type that, my stomach ache gets better.)

For a while now I’ve been in a bit of a stagnant place, working at an okay job, not following up on the education for the dream job which may or may not be as lucrative or stable. And I’ve been putting off going to the gym and not really keeping myself in shape. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I can’t hack it? What if it turns out to be awful? What if I don’t lose the weight? What if I FAIL at what I’ve tried and have to face it?

Recently I’ve had enough of my bullshit and decided to just goddamn face it and dive in and deal with it because oh my god, not doing it is killing me. A friend and co-worker invited me to come with her to the YMCA in the mornings to workout before work, and what do you know, I have found my workout time. I freaking LOVE getting up at 6:15 to go to the gym and run a mile-and-a-half before work. I have more energy (except for today when I took two 2-hour naps), my pants fit better, and I feel like I’m fighting against my genetics (my grandma, who died last year, was very very large). My goal is to, at my next annual exam, either weigh the same as or less than what I weighed at my last annual exam (my weight has gone up for the last three — or more? — years).

Something else I decided — on Wednesday — to do is to actually pursue the education and training I need for my dream job. The ultimate dream job is to be a midwife, and one of the paths to get there is to take the step I’m taking now to be a birth doula. I have dithered about this for four years (FOUR YEARS! What is my freaking problem?!), hearing things like “Sometimes you have to give up what you want for what’s best [more lucrative and stable].” Hearing that really enabled me to put my goals aside and just work in the job I had, and not go after this. And that sucked, because I heard it from a person who I thought would support my decisions wholeheartedly. It took me two years after that to get to this point now, where I’m starting the certification process.

I feel so joyful about both these steps in my life, and I’m trying to keep my eyes open for those times when I’ll feel like I’m failing and want to abandon the whole thing. Plus now that I’ve written it on the internet, I’ll be less likely to stop working toward my goals. Right? I hope.

This post is a little disjointed and wierd, but I’m not going to rewrite it just because it’s not perfect. HA! I’m learning already.

(My stomach ache is gone now.)

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It’s that time of year when the leaves start to turn from green to crimson, when the air gets a little crisper, when you can smell the spiciness of the falling leaves, when the light changes just enough to make the whole neighborhood a little more golden.

And when knitters everywhere begin to think about holiday knitting.

Just the thought of a deadline is enough to raise my heart rate. Not that I’m doing much this year, compared to some (*coughHeathercough*), but it’s enough to make me sweat. I really want to get these things done, instead of giving my family something half-completed. “Here, I made you this oddly-shaped piece of wool. Merry Christmas.” Not that we don’t have a tradition of that in our family. I got the same work-in-progress afghan from my sister for Christmas and birthday for 3 years before I finally got it as a wedding gift. And at one of my bridal showers my mom gave me some fabric and the quilt pattern she was going to use to make a double wedding ring quilt as a wedding gift. 1.5 years later, it’s still in the bag (Mom– really, it’s okay! Remember the blue yarn I gave you as a Christmas gift two years ago? Or the sock yarn I gave you for your birthday? It’s okay!)

Socks That Rock Star Gazer Lily
Holiday knitting may involve these yarns. Maybe.

I’m not going to show pictures of my holiday knitting, because some people who read this blog are going to be given the results of my holiday knitting, and I don’t want to ruin the surprise. I’ll be posting my projects over at Ravelry (which I’ve started calling The Rav in my head, possibly because I’m ultra hip? Or because I’m lazy), so my fellow Ravelers can see my progress.

Notice To My Relatives (This Includes My Husband): If Ravelry opens up to the public before Christmas and you are able to see my notebook, DON’T. Seriously, DON’T LOOK. I will revoke your handknit gifts and you will be sad.

Send happy knitting thoughts. One of the projects involves Fair Isle (a first for me) in freaking cotton.

What are you working on for holiday gifties? You can vague up your answer if you need to!

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First of all, THANK YOU a thousand times to you lovely people who said nice things about my blanket! Oh my gosh, I was totally overwhelmed — I thought the blanket was charming, but I didn’t expect so many of you to find it charming too. Thank you. The word “verklempt” is coming to mind here.

As a result of finishing the blanket (and of reading all your nice words), I’m feeling much more like a real knitter these days. That’s also a result of these:

Decidedly Fall socks

As I mentioned before, I wanted to finish these socks for Socktoberfest. Half of that goal is now accomplished, and I’m kind of proud of myself. It’s amazing what gets knitted when you actually sit down and knit it.

Contrast
Some fall leaves to go with the fall socks

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock lightweight in Fred Flintstone (purchased at Stitches Midwest 2006)

On the hoof

Needles: Knit Picks dpns in 2.5mm / US 1.5 (don’t believe them when they say that the 2.5mm is just another size 1. It’s not.)

Turning

Pattern: Wendy’s Generic Toe-up with some ribbing all down the instep. And all over the leg. All over, really. Makes a really nice plaid-ish pattern. The bind-off is 2 rows of very loose knitting on the 2.5mm needles, then a standard bindoff in rib using a 3.25mm needle. No sock-top-tightness at all. Woohoo!

Perfect
Yes, that is a bit of a tattoo you see above the sock. I’ll show more of it later.

Time Spent: I started in February 2007, finished October 13th, 2007. I am a pathetically slow sock knitter.

Sky

What I Learned:
I learned that despite my best efforts to make it so, socks do not knit themselves;
I learned that knitting small yarn on small needles very quickly can put actual dents in my hands (not just from the needles — from the yarn, too!);
I learned that the short-row toe is the perfect toe for my toes (so far, I mean, it’s the only toe I’ve ever done, but it fits damn well);
and I learned that the short-row heel, though helped in this sock by the stretchy ribbing, is not the perfect heel for my heel. I’m going to have to bite the bullet and make heel-flap-gusset socks, which I’ve been avoiding because the short-row heel is so perfectly easy (it’s just like the toe! Nothing new to worry about!).

I feel pretty strongly about toe-up socks, what with the provisional CO/short-row toe being pretty much an exact copy of my foot. I can probably swing a toe-up heel-flap-gusset sock, right?

What with being a real knitter and all.

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It’s finished! I did it!

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The Log Cabin Kureyon Blanket is complete and I am in LOVE! Yesterday was a perfect sunny day to take pictures, and last night was the perfect night to have a nice wool blanket. The temperature dropped to approximately BONE-CHILLINGLY COLD last night, and we had left our windows open while over at our friends’ apartment. The bedroom was freezing when we got in, but I was prepared with my brilliant 100% wool blanket. The strict-vegan husband shivered a good deal longer than I did. There may have been a Schadenfreude-ish cackle in my head as I drifted off to sleep in warm cozy comfort.

The blanket is definitely a one-person blanket, perfectly sized for me at about 68″ long (maybe shorter… I’m about 65″ to 66″ tall) and probably about 45″ wide (?) maybe? I haven’t measured it, I just know it fits.

Pattern: None. I mean, my own. I improvised on the Log Cabin pattern in Mason Dixon Knitting, and came up with this pattern. It’s down at the bottom of this page if you’re interested. (UPDATE on November 1, 2010 — pattern now available in French, courtesy of Tricomondesophie of Ravelry and of Le Tricomonde de Sophie and also available at Penelope’s Sisters)

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I took the blanket to the park for a photo shoot, and it wanted to play. It played on the swings…

Inspiration: The Lizard Ridge blanket was my first inspiration, and the reason I bought the first 3 skeins. Then I saw the No-Sew Noro blanket by Yarnerinas and became totally enchanted with the idea of squares with a strong border. The squares on Cinamaknits‘ blog pushed me over the edge.

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…it climbed up the curvy ladder…

Yarn: 19 skeins of Noro Kureyon in 19 different colors; 2 skeins of Cascade EcoWool (for the insanely good yardage) in dark brown (8095).

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…it slid down the slide…

Needles: Many, many circulars in 5.0mm / US 8, because there are lots of stitches on those long edges.

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…it steered the ship/playground…

Time Spent: Started Thursday, June 28th 2007 and finished 11:00pm Monday, October 8th 2007. I don’t have a clue how many hours I spent on it, but they were all delightful. Except maybe the brain-eating slog through the long edges on the borders, knitting 18 rows of garter stitch.

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…and it beat me in tic-tac-toe, the slyboots…

Money Spent: This is not a topic I want to dwell on, but my husband and a friend were wondering how much it’s worth, with the cost of yarn plus all my time, just to see. Well, if you pay retail for 19 balls of Kureyon (which I didn’t have to, thank gourd), plus the $30 I paid at WEBS for my two skeins of EcoWool… [shudder]. Let us speak no more of it.

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…and then it reposed gracefully against a stone couch.

What I Learned:

  • I learned that garter stitch is not boring, and is extremely cushy,
  • that colors other than my usual favorites can be beautiful,
  • that blankets can be knitted (I thought crochet was the only way to go, for the quickness factor),
  • that I will never get tired of smelling this yarn,
  • that 2400 grams of wool is damn warm,
  • that I could actually stick with a huge project and get it completed (I used to be intimidated by bigger projects, including sweaters),
  • that the kniternet is an awesome place to be when you need some extra balls of Kureyon (THANK YOU to Cathi, Heather, Kimberly, and KillerDaisy!!!),
  • and I learned that knitting my own blanket is a completely rewarding experience.
  • I’m including the pattern after the jump (if all goes well and I actually manage to create a jump). If you do decide to make it (or something like it with whatever customizations), drop me a line — I’d love to see what you make! And if you find yourself in need of an extra ball of Kureyon, I’ve got one to give away to the first person to ask for it. Colorway 194.

    (more…)

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    front runner

    brown and yellow

    Ragged Monarch

    Shadow Swordfight

    Lemon Ice

    Suspicious squirrel
    With apologies to anyone whose fleece has been pilfered by a squirrel.

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    Because the weather has been acting more like summer and less like fall …

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    Honestly, what does a girl have to do to get a little autumn around here?

    … I’m reviving the Decidedly Fall socks

    The Cultured Sock
    I took them to the theater to watch my sister’s play’s final dress rehearsal. The socks are much smarter about theater stuff than I am.

    … because damn, that log cabin blanket is heavy. And because it’s Socktoberfest. And because I need to satisfy my hunger for fall, which has apparently left town.

    I feel a bit weird, having tons of sock yarn (see my Flickr set for (almost all) the dirt) but having made only one pair of socks. I’m going to try to get over whatever has been my hangup and finish this pair of socks, and start another this month.

    After the Behemoth Log Cabin Blanket of Doom is put to bed.

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